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How to Choose the Right Infrared Thermometer

Infrared Thermometer

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What is the best infrared thermometer? Well, that depends on what you need the thermometer for. There are infrared thermometers for medical, industrial, culinary, and construction uses, and they all perform differently.

In this article, we’ll help you figure out what type of thermometer will suit you the best.

Three Basic Infrared Thermometer Types

There are three main types of thermometers for you to choose from, and we’ll break them down here. The biggest differences between infrared thermometers are their lenses. So, that’s how we’ll separate the three of them.


No-lens thermometers are cheap, easy to use, and great for cold environments. They’re also pretty small when you compare them to the other two types.
The main difference here is that these use a funnel of reflective material to focus their infrared light into a small area. The funnel design keeps it from needing a resting period when moving between different environments, but the lack of protection from a lens makes one of these a bad choice for hotter environments.
Finally, while these are cheap and reliable, they’re not good for long-distance readings. You’ll have to be pretty close to what you’re reading for one of these to work.


  • Cheap
  • Durable
  • Great for cold environments
  • Easy to use


  • Not great for hot temperatures
  • No long-distance capabilities

Fresnel Lens

Fresnel lens thermometers are most commonly used in the food industry. They have a narrow temperature range that covers both ends of the spectrum, and they’re inexpensive enough to be practical in a restaurant environment.

However, they’re not as versatile as Mica thermometers, and they tend to require a bit of time to adjust when you move between different environments. The lens is made of plastic, and it changes its shape when it’s exposed to sudden drops in temperature.

  • Affordable
  • Great for food
  • Usually comes with laser guides


  • Requires an acclimation period when the temperature changes

Mica Lens

Mica lens thermometers are the most expensive infrared thermometers you’ll find, and you’ll usually only see them in industrial settings.

Their price comes from their complex lenses that are made from mineral glass, and that lens design makes them more susceptible to damage than other thermometers. However, they can read very extreme temperatures accurately, and they can take readings from far distances.


  • Can take readings from far away
  • Can measure extreme temperatures
  • Great for industrial use


  • Breaks easily
  • Requires 10 minutes of resting when moved between temperature zones

Confirm Your Uses For Infrared Thermometers

What can you use an infrared thermometer for? Well, there are a lot of different uses, but you have to buy the right type of thermometer for each use.

Here are a few of the things you can use an infrared thermometer for:

  • Finding faulty terminations in high-powered electrical circuits
  • Locating overloaded circuit breakers
  • Identifying fuses near or at their rated capacity
  • Reading food temperatures
  • Reading a person’s internal temperature

8 Things You Should Consider When Choosing An Infrared Thermometer

1. Accuracy

Infrared thermometer accuracy is the most important characteristic of a thermometer. Infrared thermometers are often used in settings that require temperature readings to be extremely precise, and an inaccurate reading can often lead to major issues popping up.

Some thermometers are affected by temperature, though. So, if you move into a cold environment immediately after using the thermometer in a warm environment, you’ll want to allow the thermometer to acclimate before you use it. Not doing so will make an accurate thermometer display inaccurate results.

2. Emissivity

Emissivity is the term used to describe how much infrared energy a thermometer can put out at a time. A thermometer’s emissivity affects its ability to read different materials, and you’ll get the most out of one that allows you to adjust the amount of energy it emits.

Emissivity is typically measured on a scale that ranges from 0.00 to 1.00. When a thermometer is set to 1.00, it can read most organic materials very accurately. Issues start to occur when you want to take the temperature of the metal and synthetic materials.

By using a thermometer with an adjustable emissivity level, you can tweak the amount of infrared energy being emitted, and you’ll be able to compensate for any energy that might be reflected by the material itself.

3. Temperature Range

An infrared thermometer’s temperature range directly affects what jobs you can do with it.

For instance, no-lens thermometers can only perform reliably when reading cold temperatures. Obviously, you wouldn’t want a no-lens thermometer for reading extremely hot industrial equipment.

For a variety of medium-heat jobs, a standard Fresnel lens thermometer will work exceptionally well.

When you want to read temperatures that are rather extreme, a Mica lens is what you’re looking for. Specific temperature ranges will be listed on individual thermometers.

4. Design

In general, rugged design is a necessity. No-lens and Fresnal lens thermometers tend to be made out of a durable polymer, and that’s usually enough to keep your thermometer safe, but Mica lens thermometers need a much more durable shell and a carrying case implemented into their design. It’s easy to crack their lenses, and rugged design will help prevent that from happening.

5. Backlit Display

Having a lit screen isn’t a necessity, but it makes it a lot easier to read your thermometer in bad lighting conditions. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

6. Read Speed

A thermometer’s read speed is the amount of time it takes for it to deliver an accurate reading after you’ve initiated the thermometer’s reading process. Faster thermometers are better in almost every regard, and you should try to find one that measures temperatures in less than a few seconds.

7. Recording

The recording isn’t too important unless you want to continuously read the same object’s temperature. Proper recording software will be able to tell you the average temperature of an object over a set period of time, and it can tell you if there are any meaningful fluctuations in its temperature.

ThermoPro TP30 Thermometer Gun left side

8. Warranty

Thermometers can eventually break, and a warranty is a must-have feature for some thermometers. No-lens and Fresnal thermometers are usually cheap enough that you won’t have to worry a lot if they break, but a Mica lens thermometer can be a pretty hefty investment. We recommend getting a warranty for any expensive thermometer you buy.

Why The ThermoPro Infrared Thermometer Is The Best Choice For Your Kids

So far, we’ve talked a lot about professional uses for infrared thermometers, but you’re most likely to want to use one for your kids.
If you want a thermometer to take your child’s temperature, your best bet is the ThermoPro infrared ear thermometer.
Here’s why the ThermoPro stands out.

1. It’s Accurate

The ThermoPro ear thermometer can measure your child’s temperature exactly. So, you’ll always know when they’re a little too feverish or cold.

2. It’s Quick

It’s an instant-read thermometer. You won’t have to sit around for minutes waiting on a reading. Within a couple of seconds, you’ll know exactly what your child’s temperature is. This is great for children that refuse to sit long enough for a traditional thermometer to work.

3. Memory Function

The ThermoPro ear thermometer can remember your child’s last few temperatures, and that makes it easy to keep track of a fever.

4. Professional And Reliable

The ThermoPro is a professional piece of equipment, and it’s available at an affordable price. It’s much higher-quality than any basic thermometer you might pick up at the pharmacy or Walmart.

5. Silent Mode

You don’t have to listen to annoying beeps with the ThermoPro ear thermometer. It has a built-in silence mode that allows you to take your child’s temperature while their sleeping or you can turn it on just to avoid listening to the alarms.

6. Backlight

The ThermoPro has a built-in backlight to help you read it regardless of what lighting conditions you may be in.

Final Thoughts

There are many different ways that you can use an infrared thermometer, but there are just as many thermometers available for you to choose from. So, there’s an option for just about everybody.

We suggest figuring out the temperature range of the object you’ll be reading before you decide on which thermometer you should get.

Cold jobs are best left to no-lens thermometers, Mica thermometers are best for industrial settings, and a Fresnal lens will be your best bet for most food purposes.

If you’re looking for a thermometer for reading your family’s temperatures at home, you can’t go wrong with the ThermoPro infrared ear thermometer.

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