Infrared thermometers are very useful products that have become quite “popular” during the global COVID-19 crisis. While this is not really the best way to become popular, temperature guns are here to stay. They can assess your temperature quite accurately, without any kind of physical contact, which is very helpful in situations when contagion is possible. Using an infrared thermometer for fever is just the most typical scenario. There are many other situations when this product can come in handy and we’ll mention some of them in this text.
Pet owners usually have problems with measuring the temperature of their beloved animal friends. This is not only frustrating but also dangerous, as pets (that is, mammals) can also suffer from fever just as we humans do. You can also use it in the kitchen or the backyard when cooking at high temperatures. It is a great way to check the temperature of your frying pan or grill when you need some specific temperature for your meal. This way you don’t have to use the classic kitchen thermometer which has needles that are used to see the temperature, which will result in a juicier end product since you’re not poking it and losing all of the juicy goodness out of your roast.
How Do Infrared Thermometers Work?
They work from a distance and without any contact with the person or a surface. The infrared thermometer gun accuracy is excellent, it is usually ± 2 °C or ±4 °F which is very precise and there is no great difference between reality and results, which unfortunately isn’t the case with things like elections.
We get the temperature immediately, with no contact, using only infrared laser technology. The information “comes” from the thermal radiation and infrared energy that a person or an object gives off. They are shaped like guns because this allows easier use and more precise results. You can also retake a temperature if you are not sure- this is also a good way to assess the reliability of your product. If you know that an object emits a constant amount of heat, repeated measures should give the same result. If this is not the case, you might want to contact the manufacturer.
Frankly, the principles behind measuring temperature are quite complex, so we won’t go into many details here- not simply because we’d like to spare you the hassle, but also because we tended not to pay attention during physics classes. Anyways, a typical temperature gun works by picking up (registering) the infrared signals which are emitted by a body. Phew, that was actually simpler than we expected!
It’s important to note that the person who’s using the gun also emits infrared signals (heat) which can ruin the measuring process. This is why you need to follow the instructions closely, in order to get the most reliable results possible.
Infrared Thermometers Basics
It is highly accurate, and there is almost no waiting time, so the results are coming very quickly. Since there is no contact with a person or an object, it can be used again right after the previous use, there is no need to do some deep and complicated cleaning of the gun. Every model has its instruction manual, so be sure to consult with it.
Medical infrared thermometers are in need now, especially with the current pandemic situation in the whole world and the war we are constantly battling against COVID 19. It is important to take care of our health, and your body temperature using the infrared thermometer has never been more fast and safe to use.
When fighting COVID 19 infrared thermometer is extremely useful, as it can read the body temperature of the person quickly and precisely, with no contact, which leads to fast and safe check-ups. With the current worldwide situation, most states are monitoring their borders and passengers’ health in the possible prevention of a new outbreak and NCITs are indispensable for winning this great battle.
If you are looking for an FDA approved infrared thermometer you’ll be able to find some on Amazon and other websites- you’d just need to read the product description attentively.
Only the best laser thermometers have FDA certificates, along with many other certificates that are proving their good quality and special status among other brands.
Step By Step Guide to using an infrared thermometer?
The first benefit of using a non-contact infrared thermometer (NCIT) is the distance between it and a person or object in question. You don’t want no corona lurking behind your back, so be happy whenever you see infrared guns being used. An infrared thermometer is best used out of direct sunlight and away from any other heat source. Other heat sources, even natural body temperature, can distort the results. This is why lately you can see a lot of people being tested at the airport, more specifically, at the terminals. Here, there is no direct sunlight, the room temperature is ideal, which will result in the most precise measuring.
Not all NCITs are used in the same way. There are some more or less important differences between them. It is very important to follow the instructions strictly because it will give you the best performance and it will prolong the life of your NCIT. Here are some basic rules that should be followed:
- the place where the NCIT is used should be out of the sun and out of direct heat
- the environmental temperature should be around 60.8-104 ºF (16-40 ºC)
- NCIT should be in testing place 10-30 minutes before using, so it can accommodate to environmental conditions
The person who is being evaluated should follow the next recommendations:
- the forehead of the evaluated person should be clean, dry and there shouldn’t be any object blocking the NCIT (headbands, bandanas, caps) or any cosmetic product that could jeopardize the performance of NCIT gun.
- the sensing area of NCIT should be dry and clean all the time, also a very important thing is not to touch the sensing area, as this will influence the final result
- distance between the person and NCIT is different for each NCIT, therefore you should follow the instructions closely.
It’s impossible to emphasize enough that each infrared thermometer instruction manual can be different. Infrared thermometer distance from the forehead is very important and is usually specific for each NCIT guns, so don’t be surprised if you get peculiar results- you might simply be doing the wrong things. As is often the case, technology tends to work impeccably while humans are the ones who ruin everything with their impatience.
But there is no need to worry, NCTIs are mostly quite easy to use, and there is no need for some heavy preparations. It’s not like you need to be a rocket scientist to use it!
There is a lot of infrared thermometer brands, some are made for medical use only, and some are for broader use. The infrared thermometer price can also vary depending on their possibilities. The medical ones can be a bit pricier since they are made for the doctors, and usually have better quality. It depends on you, and your needs for which one you will decide to buy.
They use batteries, so you will find everything about them, their size, and any special type in their instruction manual. The infrared thermometer battery type is listed in the product description. Some of them use AA batteries, other ones use a regular 9-volt battery, and there is also an option for rechargeable batteries, for those who prefer this type.
Even when used continuously, they can last up to several hours, which is handy for medical staff or the border officers when they need to quickly check the temperature of passengers. Most NCTIs are made for single-handed use which allows you to be fast and efficient at every moment. Being said that they are made for single-handed use, it’s good to know that they are light and don’t take much space in the bag or on the desk.
Of course, like most other measuring products, these too have to be calibrated correctly. So how do you achieve infrared thermometer calibration? Most products have “MODE“ buttons on the side, along with some “DOWN“ and “UP“ buttons. First of all, insert the batteries and hold the “MODE“ button. Wait until F1 is displayed on the little screen. Then, proceed to measure something with an FDA approved body thermometer (which is working perfectly), and then do the same with the NCIT you want to calibrate. And when we say “measure something”, we mean anything- your dog, your stereo system, your husband, anything! Measuring the temperature might as well become your favorite hobby! But perhaps this is not the best idea, as you may get a bit paranoid if you realize that some metro passengers have a high temperature!
Back to business- after you compare the results given by two infrared thermometers, you will know how much difference is between the two. If the difference is less than 0.6C, then hold the “MODE“ button once more, until F1 is displayed again, and then with repeated pushes of the button, F3 will be displayed on the screen, and then using the “UP“ and “DOWN“ buttons you can insert the temperature difference. Finally, test it one last time to see if you’ve successfully calibrated your product.
Speaking of calibration, we should include instructions about how to make your infrared thermometer change to Fahrenheit. By default, most NCITs measure in degrees Celsius. This is simply because most countries use Celsius degrees. Like we’ve said before, press the “MODE“ button on the side of the thermometer, until F1 is displayed. At this stage, you can easily change the measuring option with “UP“ and “DOWN“ buttons. It is that simple, and it takes only a few quick steps to do it.
This specific instruction is sure to work with most infrared thermometer guns, but just to make sure, you should always read the manual that you get with the thermometer itself. Maybe some of them need some special steps and you wouldn’t want to miss out on them.
Where and How to Get One?
They can be bought almost anywhere, and along with the current pandemic situation that has struck the globe since the start of 2020, they have become more available and easier to find. But who has the time to bother and go outside, when you know that the disease is spreading as we speak?
You can buy them from the luxury of your own home! With a press of a button, to be exact. Infrared thermometers on Amazon can be a good pick since you can always see what others are saying about the product. It’s important to read the reviews regarding infrared thermometers, making sure that you won’t get a faulted one or such.
With the expansion of the global COVID 19 pandemic, there has been a large increase in demand for NCITs in the world- this situation is actually like a double-headed coin. While demand skyrocketed, the production also stepped up- NCIT price may have risen in the last period, as is the case with masks and other medical gear.
Infrared thermometer manufacturers in the USA mostly make reliable and durable products- the price might be less modest when compared with, say, Chinese temperature guns, so it’s your call. The USA is still the biggest exporter of the product, with more than 100 million dollars in annual sales. The biggest names out there are Exergen Corp from Watertown, Massachusetts, then we have Aoss Medical Supply from Monroe, Louisiana, and ThermoWorks. You can find them anywhere from 35$(the basic), all up to 100$, which are hospital-grade infrared thermometers, way more advanced and mostly used by medical personnel, with an astonishingly accurate measuring technology, that can work for a long time and last for years.
No matter the cost, you should always look to get a high-quality infrared thermometer, durable, and long-lasting product. So look up on the Internet and see which brand is the most used one, and which one is the most used in your area since some manufacturers don’t place their products in certain countries.
Infrared Thermometer Pros and Cons:
|Way faster than most methods out there delivers results in seconds||It is a bit more expensive than traditional thermometers
| Way safer than other methods out there, no need for direct physical contact
|It requires a bit of tuning and figuring out how it works
| If calibrated correctly, gives precise results
Generally, the NCIT is maybe the best option out there, not only because you don’t have to be in direct physical contact with the patient, but also because it is way faster than using some more traditional methods (mercury or digital methods).
Infrared Thermometer VS Oral Thermometer:
This one is rather obvious. Especially during the global pandemic situation, it is vital to make sure, especially for medical workers, to try and stay healthy and clean. With no direct contact with the patient, you can maintain a safe distance, while still getting body temperature results, and also it comes way faster than an oral thermometer.
Besides you’ll mostly find oral thermometers in cartoons- they are quite inconvenient, unreliable, and if you want to use the same apparatus with a lot of patients you need to disinfect it with each patient, and this can be a drag.
Infrared Thermometers VS Thermal Scanner:
The thing is that both of these work very similarly, yet there some differences. The NCIT measures average surface temperature of the spot it’s pointed to, and that spot can vary in size depending on the distance of the actual thermometer, while thermal scanners are not like this- they “shot” the “hotspots“ and “cold spots“ of a certain image. The principle, on the other hand, is the same.
Infrared Thermometers Vs Thermal Cameras:
The camera can get a much larger picture and analyze larger areas of one’s body. But unless you work as a border guard, you probably won’t use thermal cameras. They are expensive, and they aren’t the best when it comes to assessing body temperature accurately, which is the biggest upside of infrared thermometers. Sure, some high-tech thermal cameras give you the exact temperature of each part of your body, but these are used for scientific experiments.
Infrared Thermometers vs Digital Thermometers
Digital is the new classic, most often being used by your mother when she suspects you have a fever. While the COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to the use of “thermal guns”, we can still see digital ones being used, especially for “home” purposes. Yes, you need to wait a bit with a digital method, and they are not that convenient since you’d usually put them below your armpit- but they still do the work.
Other Uses Of Infrared Thermometer
This product will be quite useful even when the whole corona craze ends! How? Well, if you’re into cooking, you’re quite aware of the fact that getting the right temperature is crucial for making some tasty dishes. Sure, you don’t need high-tech equipment to boil an egg, but the situation changes a bit if you want to try some more complex recipes. In other words, using infrared thermometers as cooking accessories, besides making you feel like high-tech Gordon Ramsey, will help you make some nice meals.
Infrared thermometers and grilling is also a great combo- we’ve all ruined some nice meat while trying to show off our barbeque skills- this won’t happen again if you assess the temperature every now and then.
You can also use an infrared thermometer when your pet looks kind of sick, and see if there’s any reason to worry. You may not be aware of it, but there’s such thing as dog fever (if your dog’s temperature goes above 103 degrees F, you should consider getting it to a veterinarian). Cats can get fevers too- so having an infrared thermometer can help assess the temperature of your pets. Pets aren’t really that cooperative, even when it comes to routine medical checks. In other words, using a classic thermometer with your pet is next to impossible.
There isn’t really any boundary- you can use temperature guns to assess the state of your ventilation system for instance. Your computer sometimes shows you the temperature and warns you if overheating is possible, but this is not always the case- which is why you can use a temperature gun to assess the state of your processor and cooling system.
FAQ’s About Infrared Thermometer
1. Is an infrared thermometer dangerous?
Provided you follow the instructions and user manual, there won’t be any problems. Probably the biggest danger is that you can accidentally hit someone with it! Otherwise, it’s completely safe- there’s no physical contact, which means that there will be no virus transmission- which is always a possibility with classic thermometers. Some people wonder that infrared thermometer radiation is a problem. The truth is, many other technological gimmicks also use infrared signals, and nobody ever had any health problems.
2. How much does an infrared thermometer cost?
As already mentioned, the cost varies quite a bit. Medical-grade products are of course a bit more expensive- these products are used in critical situations, they need to be extremely accurate and durable. On the other hand, there’s a lot of new infrared thermometers that are “for personal use”, and these are usually a bit more accessible when it comes to cost. Even if you had an opportunity to purchase a medical-grade product, you should think twice because this product could have been used in hospitals- by purchasing thermometers that should be used by professionals you’re potentially depriving people who really need it. During the coronavirus era, when hospitals are overcrowded and there’s a chronic need for high-quality medical products, you should pay attention to this.
3. Is an infrared thermometer the best option for measuring temperature?
There’s a simple reason we’ve begun to see this product everywhere- it’s rather accurate, people can learn how to handle it quite quickly, there’s no physical contact (which means that one infrared thermometer can be used with an indefinite number of people), it’s efficient and time-saving. On the other hand, there are other methods for measuring temperature which might be more accurate and more valid, but they are of course more expensive and more time-consuming. Nowadays, when we need to test a lot of people quickly, infrared thermometers came in quite handy.