UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Studying the Accuracy and Function of Different Thermometry Techniques for Measuring Body Temperature Mah, Aaron James; Ghazi Zadeh, Leili; Khoshnam, Mahta; Askari, Shahbaz; Gandjbakhche, Amir H.; Shadgan, Babak


The purpose of this study was to determine which thermometry technique is the most accurate for regular measurement of body temperature. We compared seven different commercially available thermometers with a gold standard medical-grade thermometer (Welch-Allyn): four digital infrared thermometers (Wellworks, Braun, Withings, MOBI), one digital sublingual thermometer (Braun), one zero heat flux thermometer (3M), and one infrared thermal imaging camera (FLIR One). Thirty young healthy adults participated in an experiment that altered core body temperature. After baseline measurements, participants placed their feet in a cold-water bath while consuming cold water for 30 min. Subsequently, feet were removed and covered with a blanket for 30 min. Throughout the session, temperature was recorded every 10 min with all devices. The Braun tympanic thermometer (left ear) had the best agreement with the gold standard (mean error: 0.044 °C). The FLIR One thermal imaging camera was the least accurate device (mean error: −0.522 °C). A sign test demonstrated that all thermometry devices were significantly different than the gold standard except for the Braun tympanic thermometer (left ear). Our study showed that not all temperature monitoring techniques are equal, and suggested that tympanic thermometers are the most accurate commercially available system for the regular measurement of body temperature.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


CC BY 4.0