Basic Types of Temperature Measuring Gadgets

Unbeknownst to many, there are actually several different ways and gadgets to measure temperature. Temperature is simply the energy level of matter which can be tracked by a change in that matter. There are a variety of tools that measure temperatures from different objects in different ways. Specifically, there are seven basic types of measurement devices. Here are the seven types of devices which are used most commonly to measure temperature.


Thermocouples are a type of voltage device which indicate the change of temperature by changing voltage. As the temperature of an object increases, the voltage from the thermocouple will increase with it, although not linearly. 

The actual device is usually stored within a metal or ceramic outer coating in order to protect it from high temperatures and other environmental types. There are also other types of coatings that can be used, such as Teflon, which protects against acids and caustic solutions.

Resistive Temperature Devices

These devices are electrical, but they don’t use voltage to determine temperatures. Rather, they use the resistance of the object they’re measuring to measure and record its temperature. Two main types of resistive devices exist – metallic resistive temperature devices and thermistors. 

These devices are easier to use than thermocouples because their readouts are usually linear and easy to decipher. However, thermocouples are more resistive and protected than resistive devices.

Infrared Sensors

These devices are great because they can read the temperature of an object without touching it. They’re especially useful for measuring the temperatures of sick people and have actually caught on in popularity during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The infrared sensors come equipped with technology which turns the heat given off of a given object into light, then measure and record the light that it senses. They’re extremely accurate and quick, making them the go-to temperature-measuring devices for a variety of situations.

Bimetallic Devices

These are interesting devices because they measure the temperature of metals by measuring and recording the expansion of those metals when heated. Inside the actual device, two metals are bonded together and linked to a pointer. 

When heated, one side of the device will expand to a greater extent than the other. These devices are not as accurate or streamlined as others, but they’re great for their portability and ease of use.


The most well-known device for measuring temperatures, thermometers work by using expanding liquids to measure and record the temperature of the objects in question. There are actually two types of thermometers – mercury types and organic liquid types.

Mercury thermometers are still in use but are quickly becoming obsolete due to the use of organic thermometers and infrared scanners. Mercury thermometers are also being used less because mercury is considered a contaminant to the environment.

Change-of-State Sensors

One of the most interesting temperature sensors, change-of-state sensors measure the change of state in a given material which is initiated by the adding or decreasing of heat. There are many commercially viable uses of these types of sensors, such as in labels, pellets, crayons, or lacquers. 

Although they’re effective and accurate, these sensors often take a prolonged time to make their measurements and can be difficult to read. However, because they don’t require electricity to function, they’re used often in many different industries.

Silicon Diode

These types of measurement devices have been developed recently and specifically for cryogenic situations. The diode will conduct and measure the temperature of the object in a linear and easily readable fashion. 

Although they’re accurate and quick, the reading of the sensor heavily depends on the system it is integrated into, a unique situation for a device that measures temperature. These devices are used for specific and highly scientific situations.

Traditional thermometers are great for taking temperatures of children and are still being used at schools and hospitals all over the country, but there’s a new device that is quickly making them obsolete. Infrared thermometers are the new evolution in temperature taking because they allow a patient’s temperature to be measured without the need for contact. 

This makes them great for the current conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is why businesses are widely adopting them at entry points. An infrared thermometer can take the temperature of any surface and reports quickly and accurately. Here’s the science and concept behind infrared thermometers.

The Concept of Infrared

The technology inside and throughout infrared thermometers is complex, but the concept which makes them work is simple and easy to understand. Every object with mass emits energy, and this energy is emitted in the form of heat. Infrared thermometers read the heat emanating off of objects through a series of sensors, accurately reading how hot the object is both on the surface and on the inside. 

The actual temperature of the object is read by using the difference between the IR rays which emanate from the object and the surrounding environment. The light is funnelled into a detector which converts it to heat and electricity. This process takes only seconds and does not require contact between the thermometer and the object it is measuring.

Benefits of Infrared Technology

Infrared technology has been adopted by many businesses and other institutions at a blistering rate for a few different reasons. First, the accuracy of an infrared thermometer is actually improved from traditional thermometers, which rely on a number of factors to be correct. These advanced thermometers are also safer, as they’re used to measure the temperatures of patrons and students who are potentially sick. 

The lack of contact makes it possible to reuse the thermometer for a number of different people, rather than running through a supply of thermometers or relying solely on disinfection. Finally, these thermometers are simply more durable than their traditional counterparts. They’re tough enough to withstand accidents on a regular basis.

Choosing Your Thermometer

If you’re planning on purchasing an infrared thermometer, it’s important to keep in mind that there are several types, all graded at different temperature ranges. Each of these tools will have a rating that tells you what it’s made to measure and how hot or cold something must be before it cannot properly be read by the individual thermometer you’re buying. To select a thermometer that works best for you, should know what you’re planning to measure. For example, if you’re planning to measure heats as high as 626F, you’ll need a thermometer that is capable of measuring that high. Nearly every infrared thermometer on the market today will measure moderate ranges, but anything higher or lower will need to check out carefully.

Keeping Your Distance

Finally, the last feature you’ll want to look at when buying your infrared thermometer is the distance you’ll be measuring from. There are a few different ratios of distances required to measure the temperature of an object, such as 4:1, 8:1, or even 30:1. These are the most common ratios, but if you need even larger ratios, you’ll have to conduct a thorough and careful search for such a thermometer. The larger the ratio, the further away you can be from your object and still draw an accurate and quick reading. You should try to find a thermometer with a ratio that most closely matches the distance you’ll be standing when you measure your objects. If you know you’re going to be close to the object being measured, you probably won’t want a ratio of 30:1. On the other hand, if you need an abundance of space, you’ll want a ratio far larger than 4:1.

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