Three popular high street thermometers fail to display the correct temperature, it was claimed today.
Consumer group Which? tested the accuracy of five digital gadgets and found that they could be off by nearly 1C.
Options from Boots, Beaba and Beurer provided readings that led users to believe they were cooler than they actually were.
Which?, which published the list of ‘Don’t Buy’ thermometers, has warned this could delay sick Brits from seeking medical attention for their child’s fever.
The worst performing device recorded temperatures that were 0.7C cooler than the true reading.
International standards allow thermometers to be out by 0.3C.
Consumer group Which?, which tested the accuracy of thermometers, found that the devices could be off by nearly 1C
Boots Bluetooth Enabled Non-Contact Thermometer, £55
The Boots Bluetooth Enabled Non-Contact Thermometer costs £55 and is 0.7C out of range
The Boots Bluetooth Enabled Non-Contact Thermometer works by using infrared technology to detect heat radiating from the forehead.
Which? tested this thermometer 44 times across 11 temperatures and found that the results the device displayed were, on average, 0.7C too cool.
The consumer champion warned: ‘With the fever alert system in this thermometer set to go off when temperatures of 37.5C or higher are recorded, this inaccuracy means your child may have a feverish temperature but you won’t be alerted to it.
‘This could potentially delay you from seeking medical attention.’
Beurer FT 95 Non-Contact Thermometer, £40
Beurer FT 95 Non-Contact Thermometer costs £40 and is also 0.7C out of range
The Beurer FT 95 Non-Contact thermometer is identical to the Boots Bluetooth Enabled Non-Contact thermometer.
The specifications of the two are identical but this device is £15 cheaper.
Given they are the same device but in different packaging, this thermometer is just as inaccurate.
Beaba Thermospeed Infrared Ear and Forehead Thermometer, £50
Beaba Thermospeed Infrared Ear and Forehead Thermometer costs £50 and is 0.38C out of range
The Beaba Thermospeed Infrared Ear and Forehead Thermometer uses an infrared sensor to take a temperature reading without having to touch the skin.
Which? also tested this device 44 times across 11 temperature points and found that the temperatures given were, on average, 0.38C too cool.
During the investigation, Which? researchers set all of the devices to a test mode, which allows them to be accurately tested to the official standard.
Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: ‘When you or a loved one feel unwell, it’s important to be able to rely on thermometers that give an accurate temperature reading, but unfortunately Which? tests have found devices that fall short on this front.
‘We would recommend consumers avoid the digital thermometers we’ve labelled Don’t Buys and instead opt for models that do a better job of identifying a high temperature that might need medical attention.’
Which? examines and compares products in order to advise people on the best options to buy.
As well as not buying the thermometers it identified, it also urged Brits to look out for a ‘CE’ or ‘UKCA’ (UK Conformity Assessed) mark on any digital thermometer.
The required mark is confirmation that the manufacturer has checked that the product meets all safety, health and environmental requirements and complies with EU law.
A missing mark does not mean a product is unreliable or unsafe but it should be considered as a warning sign, according to Which?
In response to Which?’s findings a Boots spokesperson said: ‘At Boots we take the quality of our products very seriously and all our products are subject to compliance, performance and safety checks before they go on sale.
‘We are confident in the quality of the Boots Bluetooth Enabled Non-Contact Thermometer and would like to assure our customers that our testing is very robust.’
A Beauer spokesperson said: ‘We can confirm that the Beurer thermometer FT 95 is manufactured and tested in accordance with British Standards and European standards. It also complies to the EU Medical Devices Directive, the German Medical Devices Act and registered with the UK MHRA.
‘This product has 100 per cent in production testing and is calibrated to the appropriate specifications. Our testing, which is to regulation under a strictly controlled environment, prove that the product does comply to the specifications as published.’
Responding to Which?’s findings, Beaba explained they are now double checking the accuracy with many labs across the continent.
Beaba said: ‘Our thermometers are tested to the highest standard in line with British and European Accuracy and Safety Requirements.
‘We acknowledge that whilst testing, Which? seem to have a discrepancy in their readings and we are already investigating this alongside having the accuracy double checked with numerous accredited labs across Europe and UK.
‘Beaba is dedicated to maintaining the high quality of their products and supporting Customer Service.’