Customer Reviews: Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer with ExacTemp Technology, IRT4520USSM (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on August 24, 2009
We recently purchased this ear thermometer after reading a number of positive reviews online. The cost initially gave us pause, but since this product will be primarily used on our small children quality, accuracy and reliability were important considerations and outweighed the cost factor. Our last two ear thermometers were unreliable and didn't last long. We've used this product reliably for a couple months now and are quite satisfied.

What recently sold us though was a recent Emergency Room visit to the Fairfax INOVA Children's Hospital which is a fantastic children's hospitals in Northern Virginia (our baby is now OK). While there we were surprised to see the doctors and nurses all using this same product. This is a state of the art hospital where they spare no expense, and they were using this ear thermometer. Their units are used constantly and if this product can stand up to that type of abuse, I'm sure it will work for us for years to come.

*** Update 1 - 1/26/2013 - Well over three years of use and it's still going strong. I'm still extremely satisfied.
*** Update 2 - 3/3/2014 - We had an ER visit this Saturday when my 6 yr old son dislocated his finger on a jungle gym and they used one of these to take his temp. Looks like they are still popular.
*** Update 3 - 3/24/2014 - This morning, after 4.5 years of surprisingly frequent use on our two young kids it's kaput. New batteries wouldn't revive it. Took my daughter to her pediatrician this morning (it's a large pediatric practice with 8-10 doctors) and guess what they used to take her temp? Yes, exactly, this same thermometer. I'll be ordering a new one from Amazon today.
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on April 10, 2009
Bought this couple of weeks back consequent to my son developing high fever and which fluctuated considerably. This caused the Red Cross $9.00 digital thermometer useless as it takes approx. a minute (under armpits) to record temparature. Our doctor advised us to buy Braun based ear thermometer.

First off - there are quite a models available. After taking to doctor and doing research - the 2 new models are IRT 4520 and IRT 4020. These are EXACT copies (all functionality) like their PRO 4000 versions!
The ExacTemp feature has a pre-heated tip which is more comfortable for the ear.
The older models (PRO 3000) is about $80, but uses lithium batteries and I don't think has pre-heated tip.

Has a "sort of" battery meter. Starts to show - that battery's low, flashing means - will effect results. (Very good)

Switch on, place tip (with tip cover, without cover, doesn't work)
push START and WITHIN TWO SECONDS you get the temperature.

Notes: Slightly hold the ear in order to place the tip INTO THE EAR HOLE to get best INTERNAL EAR CANAL reading. The readings are stored for access later - total 8 memory readings.
Auto shut-off: 60 sec.

The storage is into a white canister type case, which has HORIZONTAL standing (not good - as VERTICAL standing would have been better or if provided ALSO - good).

The given 21 nos. of lens caps are very little. Thankfully, the whole package of lens caps goes INSIDE the thermometer case, storing them together.

Size-wise it's a bit thick and thus slightly problematic to carry along but due to it's accuracy/etc. worth the hassle.

The ejector is very useful. Just press it and the lens cap is THROWN forward. Be careful, it's literally EJECTED out. (Point towards garbage can - I hit my wife's nose...;)

If you get covers for the PRO 4xxx series - you can use it with IRT 4520. That's very good. The batteries are regular AA series and last long. The IRT 4020 has 1 extra feature - has a protective plastic cap covering the disposable lens caps. That's actually very useful. So, if you get 4520 and 4020 at approx. the same price, I would opt for 4020.

There are some calibrations possible, but advice you NOT to do so. If you keep pressing the I/O button even after OFF, then you can switch between Celsius/Fahrenheit settings.
You can set the optimal temperature of the tip, define ambient room temp, etc - Keep i/o button pressed, after OFF starts to FLASH, there will be loud beep - immediately release the I/O button. Then keep pressing (short presses) of the I/O to switch to go thru the options stated above.

Note: ALTHOUGH NOT STATED, IT'S ADVISABLE to have the thermometer calibrated professionally *KAZ, in US* annually.

Weight - about 8 oz.

Any diff. between ExacTemp and non-Exac?
Yes - the pre-heated tip.

Any diff. btw the Professional (+$200) and this?
NONE in functionality, the PRO's just more heavy duty, with anti-theft features, base-station, etc. (all sold as accessories)

Any diff. btw this and the "Compact" one?
Yes - this has ExacTemp, has Memory functions, overall - quicker.

Does the PRO series lens cover fit?

Difference with IRT 4520 and IRT 4020?
IRT 4020 has a protective cover ON top of lens cover. IRT 4020 - difficult to buy. Pro 4xxx series REPLICATES IRT 4520, not IRT 4020.

How accurate?
Very accurate. I compared with mercury-based prof. thermometers.

Usage tips?
Use the SAME ear (you'll notice each ear records diff. temp) Hold the ear slightly up, push gently the tip INSIDE and press "Start"

Can I use it "orally", rectum, arm-pits?
I don't think so, it's gonna be difficult, the tip's designed for ears. Although stated possible - can't imagine how.

Any features I would have liked?
Yes, the following:
(a) Memory feature has the date/time included
(b) The memory feature has the LEFT ear and RIGHT ear set. (i.e. 2*8 memory locations, at least)
(c) Ability to switch off the BEEP
(d) A 2nd. display where the "Start" button is to see the temp. immediately (priority - low)
(e) More thin - the overall product
(f) Lens covers are very costly
(g) The case should be able to STAND, not lying down only

[UPDATE} 12/2012: Still going strong, absolutely no complaints. Traveled with us thru Europe and Asia and back to NA. Used gazillion times with zero failures or problems!
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on February 9, 2013
I have taken this to work at a hospital and compared it to the Pro model and they are not any different. My review is kind of a mix of comments I have posted in offering some information about these thermometers as some people have not had good results with them. It helps to understand the reasons for getting temps that frustrate you. As a nurse in critical care areas I have a lot of use with these and find them to be the best way (with the exception of a internal temperature probe placed in an uncomfortable location)I hope this is helpful.

Thermometers cannot read too high. The differing temps between ears are likely the result of method, like how you were pointing it into your ear, maybe differently between each one, or how clear the ear canal is, like is one side cleaner than the other. The difference between tympanic and oral is established to be different. There is an article on webmd that summarizes the typical ranges and differences between temperature locations. Many people falsely focus on getting the exact temp but this is futile because your body is always changing, heart rate, blood pressure, everything is in constant change based on environments. What you should be looking for is a trend, are you gradually going up in temp? or going down? I use the same style in the ICU and even there it is understood that you will have some slight changes even between ears, pick the one that is higher because that is more likely to be the cleaner best side. Don't get frustrated by the machine, just learn the correct use. (webmd com/parenting/rectal-ear-oral-and-axillary-temperature-comparison)

I don't like the forehead therms because I think it's too easy to lift off and drop my reading down. I absolutely choose the ear therm. I work in critical care in a decent sized hospital, all the nurses prefer the tympanic (ear) for fast accurate readings.

There are also known differences between age groups as far as temps go. Young kids, toddlers, infants have typically higher normal temps, while older adults have typically lower body temps, this has to do with the amount of metabolism/energy burning off. Everybody is different in their temps. Different methods of temp reading (like oral, ear, forehead) each have their own range that are a degree or two off, this is just natural that deep inside our body we are warmest and skin temp can drop with sweating and be cold while a body core temp is roasting (another reason I don't like the forehead scan). Oral temps can easily be skewed if eating foods of varying temps. Tympanic is also a degree or so different than a true core temp but this is all not important with a typical infection because the important information is which direction the temp is moving. Also behavior is very important especially with children; my child at age 1y had a temp of 104 (rectally, which I consider more true than any other home method) and was playing around and happy, I was not worried, I gave some medication and watched his behavior. Another toddler could have a temp of 101 and be flaccid and I would be racing to the ER. This may be TMI but it helps if you understand the context of the temp and the method of checking it. I hope this is helpful
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on April 15, 2014
I have had this thermometer replaced by the company and it's still having the same issue (This was just delivered this past week and is BRAND new!). It's obviously not as "unusual" a problem as they lead me to believe considering the reviews. Perhaps the 5 star reviews just take the temperature once and believe it. However, having a temperature of 101 upon waking seems highly unusual considering I'm not sick. So, in the same ear, same positioning in the ear, I do it again *immediately* after reading the 1st reading. Of course the reading is significantly different. So here's an experiment. I'm going to do this RIGHT now.
Right Ear (all done in approx. 3 second intervals)
Left Ear (all done in approx. 3 second intervals)
Lets just stop there. 100.9 to 98.8?!?!? I'm sorry but that's RIDICULOUS! How is this advertised as the most accurate store bought thermometer you can own?!? That is a HUGE difference. Both thermometers did this.

There has GOT to be a better one on the market. Their customer service is good (if you can navigate their HORRIBLE website and actually contact customer service), but the product is HIGHLY inaccurate and truly not worth the money. I am a mother of 3 under 5 and understand the value of quality products, that give me peace of mind about the well-being of my children. This is NOT one of those products.

(Just to address someone who thinks I am somehow "cooling" the ear every time I tested; I took a reading of each ear approx. 15 minutes after the initial readings and both ears were 98.6)
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on May 9, 2009
I am sure I am not the first parent who has had to try and keep a struggling child steady while waiting 2+ minutes for the thermometer to register a reading. In this regard, the Braun ThermoScan is ideal. It takes an accurate ear reading in just a few seconds! The probe also does not feel cold to the touch, so my child actually seems to like having her temperature taken. The only drawback so far is that the LCD panel is not back-lit. It is impossible to see the reading in the semi-darkness, and one has to go to a light source to check the measurement. Otherwise, a great product.
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on February 10, 2015
I like this thermometer a lot. I am giving it four stars only because it is difficult to use. I used it incorrectly for a few months without realizing. Obviously, that is not ideal. I had fluctuating temperatures and never knew what was right. However, I recently discovered my error- now the temps that I take on myself (husband or children) are all very accurate. The trick is to pull your ear up while inserting. Weird, huh? I have no idea why (the manual says to do it) but that is the key. If you do not do that, the temperature can vary as much as a degree or two every time you take a reading.
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on November 9, 2013
Besides the fact that you can take 3 readings in each ear and get SIX different temps that range about 1.5°, there is a more irritating, egregious flaw: NO LIGHT. Before you buy this, think for a minute about how often you will need to take readings in a darkened room, PARTICULARLY if you have kids. Talk about design flaws. A simple, dimly lit background for the LED would have saved me and my wife a great deal of exasperation. Of course, this didn't occur to me before I bought it, but man, am I ever sorry, every time I use it. I have to bring a flashlight into the room with me -- or run back into the hallway before the LED fades -- or risk waking my daughters. Put that in the context of my first complaint: multiple readings required. "Gee, is my daughter's temperature 102° (no big deal)? or 103.5° (big deal)???" *sigh*
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on June 8, 2015
I'm not a huge fan of this thermometer. Maybe I don't have the touch. I will take a temperature 5-10x within a minute and get temperatures that vary within 1-1.5 degrees. That seems like too much of a spectrum to be off by. Additionally, you're supposed to use a new cover over the thermometer for every single take. So if you're not able to get an accurate read like me, you'll have to by a thousand of those little covers. The difference between an old and new protective cover can sometimes be up to 1.5 degrees difference. I'm going to be honest, now I don't change for a new cover on every take, but there have been times where I did do 3 new covers for 3 takes within a minute and still had a 1-1.5 degree fluxation.

Additionally, the little lights and beep on the thermometer almost worked against we with my curious baby/toddler as she kept trying to turn her head and keep the lights in view instead of letting me put it in her ear. Granted I probably could have worked a better system out to keep the distraction of the device itself to a minimum, but when you're trying to get a temp you're not thinking about all those little things.

It is nice to get the temp within seconds and you don't have to undress a baby to take it, but I almost feel like it's more hassle than it's worth and I always doubt the accuracy of the temp I got. It's also hard to know if you're positioning right on anyone but yourself, and even then there is still a lot of error.

When I was pregnant with my second I had a fever in my first trimester that was borderline becoming dangerous to my baby so every point of a degree matter. I about drove myself batty having my temperature flucuate so much.

Ultimately, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone and I won't ever buy it again.
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on November 28, 2013
My wife and I picked up a Braun Thermoscan Thermometer after hearing a few positive recommendations from friends. On the plus side, it's fast and requires virtually no cleaning. The plastic sheaths pop on and off easily. There's on button on the front that turns on the thermometer, and a button on the back used to take the temperature. After a couple of seconds, you get your result. If if your baby is anything like ours, it won't bother yours at all. Sounds good, right?

Unfortunately, the temperature readouts are inconsistent. You can take three readings in a row, and get different results each time, as much as half a degree, and it regularly underestimates the temperature compared to other thermometers up to a degree. And as other reviews have pointed out, the readout provides no lighting, so it's difficult to see at night.

We still use the Thermoscan just as a first step to see if our baby has a fever or not. But once we know our baby is sick, our pediatrician recommends taking his temperature rectally (ugh) for more the most accurate results.
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on August 27, 2012
I've gone through a cheap Vick's ear thermometer, about 4 random oral thermometers, and now this is the King of them all. The Vick's one was horribly inaccurate, as convenient as it was I assumed ear thermometer tech just wasn't there. Went through 4 oral ones that seemed to all vary about 1 degree, and then die within a year or two of use.

Have had this one for about a year. When put up with all the oral thermometers averaged it comes to less then .5 degree accuracy ( I don't have a nice doctor thermometer or anything to give it a better benchmark ). The included molded plastic case holds a box of ear covers inside of it which makes it convenient. The button on it releases the ear cover very quickly.

Depending how you place this inside the ear - will give different readings. Hold the ear lobe down and insert it gently and straight in. If you take a couple runs, make sure you go in at the same angle and same depth, to increase accuracy.

One thing I really wish this had was a backlight of some sort. Would be real nice in a dark room taking the temp of a sick kid. Minor inconvenience, I hope they remedy in the near future.
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