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The Many Uses of Digital Thermometers

The Many Uses of Digital Thermometers

Thermometers are used to measure temperature and convert this into a readable format such as Celsius, Fahrenheit or Kelvin. Temperature determines everything from the clothes we wear outside to ensuring enough heat is applied to our food so it is cooked through and safe to eat; as a result, it is essential that we can measure this accurately when going about our daily lives.

This blog post will offer a comprehensive list of applications that require the use of professional thermometers.

Types of thermometers

Many types of thermometer exist, therefore it is crucial to consider the limitations of each before making a purchase. Below we have organised a simple list of some of the most popular types of thermometers along with their advantages and disadvantages over other varieties.

Stem thermometers

Reed R2000 digital stem thermometer

Compact, lightweight digital thermometers that include a stem or probe attachment for contact temperature measurement.

Common applications: Cooking (for testing food is cooked through), laboratories (for measuring solutions in test tubes).



✔ Includes long probe for measuring temperature that is difficult to reach.

✖ Requires contact with a sample.

✔ Cheap.

✖ Limited features and functions compared with other thermometers.

✔ Pocket-sized.

✖ May only work with one measurement (Celsius, Fahrenheit etc).

✔ Most simple and easy-to-use digital thermometer.

Infrared thermometers

Solidly constructed digital thermometers utilising infrared non-contact temperature targeting and measurement.

Common applications: HVAC, automotive, research and quality control.



✔ Good all-round thermometer.

✖ Prices and quality may vary greatly.

✔ Non-contact temperature measurement ideal for reaching difficult to measure locations.

✖ Cheaper models may lack datalogging and recording.

✔ Selectable Fahrenheit and Celsius temperature measurement units.

✔ Simple, easy-to-use interface.

Dual-laser thermometers

Reed R2007 dual laser infrared thermometer

Versatile, digital thermometers with dual lasers for target area identifications and precise temperature measurement.

Common applications: HVAC, automotive, research and quality control.



✔ Dual lasers assist with target area identification for more precise non-contact temperature measurement.

✖ Often more expensive than other thermometer types.

✔ Higher distance to spot-ratio size than other infrared models.

✔ Highly effective measurement tracking and recording.

✔ May include audible alarms for accurate measurement detection.

RTD thermometers

RTD thermometers (also known as Resistance temperature detector thermometers) include a highly accurate resistance to temperature relationship which can be used to indicate temperature.

Common applications: Cooking, food testing



✔ Higher accuracy and repeatability over thermocouple models.

✖ Often more expensive than other thermometer types.

✔ Large scope of features and functions.

✖ RTD elements are relatively fragile and platinum detecting wires need to be kept free of contamination to remain stable.

Thermocouple thermometers

Reed R2400 thermocouple thermometer

Thermocouple thermometers are advanced temperature measurement devices that consist of two different electrical conductors that form electrical junctions at differing temperatures. Temperature-dependant voltage can be interpreted in order to measure temperature.

Common applications: Automotive (for checking diesel engines and exhausts), offices (as temperature sensors in thermostats).



✔ Large scope of features and functions.

✖ More complex and difficult to use compared with other thermometers.

✔ Can display multiple separate measurements simultaneously.

✖ More expensive than most other thermometer types.

✔ Selectable sampling rates and compatible with a large range of datalogging software.


A hygrometer is a digital measurement device used to measure the amount of humidity and water vapour in the atmosphere, soil, or other confined spaces.

Common applications: greenhouses, HVAC system installations, humidors, museums, art galleries



✔ Measures and displays ambient temperature and humidity simultaneously.

✖ Lower temperature ranges compared with infrared and other types of thermometers.

✔ High sampling rates.

✖ Can be expensive compared with standard digital thermometers.

✔ Relatively easy to use.


Reed 8706 psychrometer

Psychrometers are a type of hygrometer consisting of both wet-bulb and dry-bulb thermometers that are used to provide simultaneous air temperature and relative humidity readings. These devices measure humidity based on the difference between the two thermometers.

Common applications: Saunas, Spas, greenhouses



✔ Certain models can be used for contact / non-contact temperature measurement.

✖ May be fragile

✔ Provides simultaneous relative humidity and air temperature readings.

✖ Older models may contain high levels of mercury in the thermometer components.

✔ Consists of two thermometers (wet-bulb and dry-bulb) compared with standard hygrometers.

Popular applications for professional thermometers

Restaurants, catering & cooking

Restaurant kitchen

Thermometers are regularly used in restaurants and catering to check that food is cooked through. Takeaways use stem thermometers in order to check the temperature of boiling oil to ensure this is hot enough before placing food into frying baskets. Restaurants may use professional RTD thermometers to ensure that meat is cooked and of optimum temperature in the centre.



Infrared thermometers are relied upon in the automotive industry as a way of monitoring vehicle heating and ventilation systems to ensure they meet regulatory standards. Non-contact thermometers allow operators to measure temperature from a safe distance or as a way to monitor temperature in difficult to reach places.

In aerospace engineering, digital thermometers ensure that temperature levels remain constant and safe in aeroplane passenger cabins where windows cannot be opened due to air pressure.

Business environments

Office conference room

Office environments are regulated and need to provide adequate heating and ventilation to ensure a safe, productive working environment. When evaluating safety of office environments, quality control technicians and Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system fitters use Infrared and dual laser thermometers equipped with non-contact target area identification functions to allow the temperature in ventilation shafts and other difficult to access areas to be measured more easily.

Greenhouses, horticulture & Bio-labs

Greenhouse for plants

Temperature measurement equipment is constantly relied upon in outdoor environments to check for environmental changes, the extent of global warming and weather updates. Whilst more advanced temperature measurement technology may be used for weather readings, digital thermometers and pyschrometers allow operators to monitor temperature and humidity levels in enclosed environments such as green houses and bio labs.

Many plants require optimum moisture and temperature conditions for effective growth, too much or too little may cause stunted growth or increase the risk of bacteria growth and contamination. In the UK, seasonal fruit and tropical plants housed in specialist greenhouses are particularly at risk and temperature and moisture levels need to be constantly maintained in order to replicate favourable growing conditions.



Psychrometers are particularly useful for measuring relative humidity and air temperature levels in spa saunas. Sauna room temperatures and moisture levels need to be carefully and regularly maintained to ensure they maintain a safe, constant temperature and provide adequate comfort and relaxation for guests.

Art galleries & museums

Art gallery

Thermo-hygrometers are often used in art galleries, archives and museums to ensure low humidity levels are maintained and work is preserved in the best possible quality. Enclosed spaces exposed to high temperatures and high moisture content in the air can cause damage to artworks and documents if not carefully monitored.


Science laboratory and chemicals

Many types of laboratory from school science labs to medical and food testing facilities rely on digital thermometers as a way of monitoring the temperature of samples. Stem thermometers are commonly used for measuring the temperature of solutions placed in test tubes using the long probe extension.

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