Search this site:


September 12, 2005 12:04 AM

Broken: Digital thermometer shape

DigitalthermometerAnthony Argyriou writes:

This digital thermometer has an interesting defect: it's too smooth. Why is this a problem? Because when I stick it in my mouth, under my tongue, and bite down to hold it in place, it slips out. The pressure from my teeth isn't enough to get a grip on the very smooth, tapered shaft of this instrument; instead, my teeth slowly close down on each other as the thermometer slides out of my mouth.


Perhaps you're supposed to hold it there with your hand? Certainly doesn't look like it's designed to be easily held in the mouth otherwise...

Posted by: Alden Bates at September 12, 2005 01:50 AM

Not quite where they are designed to measure temperature. If they were less smooth thwy would be uncomfortable going in the intended place.

Posted by: Stuart at September 12, 2005 02:17 AM

Is DEFINITELY broken, I have the same model AND the same problem , when was the last time you were sick with a fever and felt like holding the thermometer in place for a few minutes ?? and it IS an ORAL thermometer, so the mouth IS the intended place LOL

Posted by: ChuckW at September 12, 2005 04:42 AM

Stuart is right, this thermometer is for anal tempertures, and it gives you the temperature in 15 seconds. I have the same model one for my 9 month old infant.

Posted by: Joshua Wood at September 12, 2005 06:29 AM

Actually the thermometer's instructions (we have one, too) say it is for oral or rectal use, or under the arm. Helpfully, they *do* tell you not to use it orally once you've used it rectally. But anyway, ours was sold as an infant/toddler thermometer, which means a parent would be holding it in place during use (in either location).

And when you have ever seen a *rough* thermometer? The old glass mercury ones were pretty smooth too.

Finally, the taper is in only one plane; for your teeth to "slowly close down on each other while as the thermometer slides out", you must be putting it in vertically. Turn it 90 degrees and you'll be able to clamp down on it well enough to hold it in.

Not broken.

Posted by: stoo at September 12, 2005 07:20 AM


Any actual comments on the design of the thermometer? A perfect design is a one in a million thing. People having difficulty with the thermometer are likely using it exactly like a the old simple stick thermometer. The problem is that the end of the thermometer is bigger and heavier than with the stick thermometer causing it to slip out easier. Perhaps its only a momentary breakdown, and people will eventually adapt to the new design, although with behavioural inertia it's difficult to say when.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at September 12, 2005 08:56 AM

I was going to be skeptical, but looking at the image, it does have a more dramatic taper than any digital thermometer I have used. Although as the other poster put it, rotate it 90 degrees.

Or splurge on one of those infrared ones that you point into your ear. I got one and never looked back.

Posted by: Citizen Of Trantor at September 12, 2005 10:26 AM

I used to have one of these as well, many years back. The instructions state the thermometer can be used orally, otherwise I would not have purchased it.

Anyway, yes, the design makes it very hard to keep in your mouth unless you can manage to build a prop out of pillows and blankets and kleenex boxes, turn your head to the side and rest the thermometer on the home made prop.

Needless to say, I don't have this thermometer anymore.

Posted by: Faolan at September 12, 2005 11:14 AM

I hate this design of thermometer, it always slips out of my mouth. Why not make the thing straight? I know there has to be a digital readout and space for the battery, but why can't we make a long thin battery (like AAA only thinner) and not put so much extra plastic around the digital display?

And to those who argue that this is a rectal thermometer: does that mean that to use it rectally REQUIRES there to be such a curve in the shape? Can we not use straight thermometers back there?

Posted by: Manni at September 12, 2005 11:24 AM

OMG! Holding a digital thermometer for a few SECONDS is way too much trouble? You cold try using it the other way, then.

Posted by: Tony A' at September 12, 2005 11:53 AM

I'm guessing those that don't hold it in place may be like me- subconscienciously worried about it effecting the temperature readout. Yes, I KNOW that it WON'T, but there's still that little voice in the back of my head telling me not to touch it. And like Carlos said, it's not even so much the taper as it is that the one end is so much heavier that causes it to slip out of one's mouth.

Posted by: ambrocked at September 12, 2005 12:42 PM

You cannot keep it in with your lips?

Posted by: Nigel Pond at September 12, 2005 01:03 PM

Wall*Mart has one the same shape on which the tip is rubberized for around 10$ca which works very well.

Posted by: Sean P at September 12, 2005 01:12 PM

What's wrong with old-school, non-electric, thermometers? They are severely less bulky, and need no batteries...

Posted by: MinkOWar at September 12, 2005 01:15 PM

We bought one like this and no one uses it because it is so hard to keep in your mouth. Our glass alcohol one works just as good and stays in your mouth easer.

Posted by: Jeff at September 12, 2005 02:21 PM

NOT BROKEN...Just hard to use. Buy a different one.

Posted by: julie at September 12, 2005 02:26 PM

This is something we cannot change. All oral digital thermometers I have ever seen are shaped this way. Just don't bite down on them. Done.

Posted by: Bob at September 12, 2005 03:15 PM

Ten years ago, we'd be reading about a broken thermometer design that fills one's mouth with glass bits and poisons one with mercury. You don't bite thermometers, regardless of what you see in comic books and cartoons!

Posted by: rich at September 12, 2005 03:53 PM

Julie: This is about product design. In one short post, you declare it not broken, but yet admit to it being difficult to use. A thermometer for home use shouldn't be difficult to use. If it is, then the design has failed a fairly important criteria.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at September 12, 2005 04:18 PM

Glass thermometers have supposedly been outlawed. My daughter bit a glass thermometer in half and it was very scarey trying to get the glass and mercury out of her mouth. She fell asleep and when I tried to take it out of her mouth, it scared her and she bit it in half.

For the sake of our environment, they should not be disposed of in your garbage. Call the EPA for information on where to dispose of them.

On the new plastic ones, here is my advice: don't stick it under your tongue in the front of your mouth. It should be properly placed under and along side your tongue, more to the back. This will give you more leverage and a more correct temp. Also, I have found the first reading to always be too low and it should be taken a second time. Hope this helps.

Posted by: Pal at September 12, 2005 05:02 PM

"Also, I have found the first reading to always be too low and it should be taken a second time. Hope this helps."

Okay, so it's hard to keep in your mouth, and it doesn't take an accurate temperature? How is this "oral thermometer" not broken?

Posted by: kenny at September 12, 2005 05:49 PM

I noticed something fairly broken with this thread. In one comment, someone said they had this thermometer and that it could be used orally or rectally (I would just use it orally, thank you very much), but someone else said tat they also had it and that it could only be used orally. Can the original poster give us some more details on the thermometer?

Posted by: Kevin at September 12, 2005 05:56 PM

I have the same model and it only takes temps up the nose...and its hard to keep in place too!

Posted by: noname at September 12, 2005 07:36 PM

Due to noname's post, we now have the same thermometer being used in three completely different ways.

Posted by: Kevin at September 12, 2005 08:36 PM

I've had this thermometer for ten years. I've never had to replace the battery---the only good thing about it. I'm too cheap to buy a better one...children are now grown and I don't care what my temperature is when I'm sick:) By the way, where this this post that it is NOW Sept. 13th????

Posted by: me at September 12, 2005 10:15 PM

Sorry. The preview said it was Sept. 13th...maybe that's broken:>) Also, my first 'this' should have been 'is'...not very good at typing :

Posted by: me at September 12, 2005 10:21 PM

Actually Kevin, someone above also mentioned using it under the arm. 4 ways of usuage.

Posted by: chaos at September 13, 2005 09:47 AM

Stick it in your ear!

Posted by: Steve at September 13, 2005 10:29 AM

Why couldn't they have put a ridge away from the end of the shaft that you could brace your teeth against without actually having to chomp down on it?

Posted by: Grand_Dame at September 13, 2005 11:05 AM

Glass thermometers have been outlawed?

"Do what he says! He's got a glass thermometer!"

Posted by: Bob at September 13, 2005 06:21 PM

It's really not a problem, assuming you can bite down at all. I have that model, and it's never a problem at all. So There!

Posted by: Sido at September 13, 2005 07:06 PM

>Julie: NOT BROKEN...Just hard to use. Buy a different one.

Uh, Julie, do you get the entire point of this forum? Hard to use, by definition, IS BROKEN!

If it is hard to use something as it is intended to be used, it is a broken design that should be fixed.

Posted by: Erich at September 13, 2005 07:13 PM

4 models + Sido's model = 5 models for the same tool

Anthony, what model is that thermometer and how is it used?!?!?!

Posted by: Kevin at September 14, 2005 06:25 PM

I have a thermometer that is pretty much exactly the same and I usually have no problem with it. It has slipped from my mouth once or twice, but otherwise it is fine.

Posted by: chris at September 16, 2005 07:32 PM

try sticking it up your ass if you're having a hard time keeping it in your mouth

Posted by: frankie at September 17, 2005 03:35 AM

dude, thats not a thermometer

Posted by: NICK at September 18, 2005 03:52 PM

lmao........... im funny

Posted by: NICK at September 18, 2005 03:53 PM

dude, thats an anal thermometer.

Posted by: Kristofir at September 18, 2005 06:23 PM

Try holding it in place with your molars, you arent in public when you use it, so who cares if you look wierd. You probably would anyway just holding it in place with your hand. Plus it lets you use both hands for stuff like typing on the computer, reading newspaper, that kind of stuff.

Posted by: annonymous at September 19, 2005 11:19 PM

"I hate this design of thermometer, it always slips out of my mouth. Why not make the thing straight? I know there has to be a digital readout and space for the battery, but why can't we make a long thin battery (like AAA only thinner) and not put so much extra plastic around the digital display?"

They do make a battery like this. I have seen it in one or two stores only, but it's called a AAAA. Same length, but thinner than a AAA.

Posted by: mybadluck22 at September 20, 2005 05:31 PM

You're not supposed to bite on it. You just hold it under your tounge and close your mouth.

And by the way, its not even a defect. It's supposed to be smooth.

Posted by: Jeff at September 21, 2005 03:49 PM

Try shoving it in your ear, Hard. Then you won't have to worry about it popping out of your mouth. :}

Posted by: Jon at November 4, 2005 10:28 PM

You are supposed to put it under your armpit! NOT BROKEN!

Posted by: Chris at February 21, 2006 11:03 PM

whatever rectal rectal rectal ,,,,

Posted by: tim at April 17, 2006 12:40 AM

Comments on this entry are closed

Previous Posts: