How Modern Digital and Infrared Thermometers Work?

How Modern Digital and Infrared Thermometers Work

Ways of measuring the temperature have been around for centuries, but with today’s technology, the thermometer has gotten more sophisticated and easier to use than ever. Today, you can get a very accurate reading with several different types of devices, but the digital and the infrared thermometers are two of the best choices.

Even though the technology of today’s thermometers is more advanced, the basic principle of any thermometer remains the same: the device uses some sort of sensor to show measure the temperature difference in the substance and the thermometer itself. In the old days, it was a liquid like mercury, but newer devices use small digital technology to make the measurement.

Here’s why digital thermometer and infrared thermometers are the best available today.

Digital Thermometers

The best thing about digital thermometers is that they display the temperature on an easy-to-read screen rather than with a line moving through short increments like an old-school thermometer.

While it still uses a probe, like the ones your mother probably used to take your temperature or the kind you use to temp a roast, a digital thermometer uses small resistors in its internal circuitry to measure temperature. Not only does this give you a more accurate reading, it gives it to you in seconds rather than the minute or so classic thermometers needed.

Digital thermometers are still great for taking a person’s temperature or for seeing if food is cooked properly. It also still has uses in science, when there is a liquid that needs to be monitored.

Infrared Thermometers

By Hedwig Storch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

With infrared thermometers, much of the digital principles are still the same: they give you a digital readout and use small resistors in their circuitry to measure the temperature. The advantage of an infrared thermometer is speed and accuracy.

All objects emit infrared light, but the hotter an object is, the more infrared it emits. This is the basic principle that these thermometers work on. They can instantaneously read the temperature of any object with great accuracy. The big advantage for infrared thermometers is that they use infrared light as well to measure the difference. This means that there is no contact with the object being measured and the thermometer itself, unlike with a probe-style thermometer. You can find digital and infrared thermometers at this website.

Which One is Best?

Like with any tool, you need to use the right one for the job. Each has it’s advantages and disadvantages.

The digital thermometers are great for finding the internal temperature of things: people, food, liquids, even the ambient air around you. Infrared thermometers, on the other hand, can only take surface temperatures: the light does not penetrate more than a few centimeters below the surface, so it is useless for temping foods and taking other core temperatures. So it really depends on what you are using it for.

You need to know what you want to measure before you decide on purchasing a thermometer, so evaluate your needs and you should know what you should buy.

Editorial Team
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