The temperature of your pool distinguishes a fun and comfortable experience from a bone-chilling and potentially dangerous ordeal. Let’s face it — keeping pool water at a perfect temperature can be painstaking, but with the right pool thermometer it can be faster and far more manageable meaning you and your kids can sooner get back to the good part of owning a pool.
You know why you need one, but how do you decide which pool thermometer to get? There are countless options available with things from digital LCDs to remote sensing capabilities, coupled with an array of warranty plans, that make buying a thermometer feel like buying a car.
Fortunately, we’re here to help.
eLander Large Floating Pro Water Thermometer
You just want to take the temperature, nothing more and nothing less. Fortunately, this humble model made by eLander is versatile, reliable, and affordable. At just under $10 on Amazon, this one will get the job done while leaving your bank account open to some more, well, interesting pool expenses.
It works like any other kind of thermometer. To get a temperature reading, place the thermometer in the pool for several seconds so it can get an accurate reading. Afterward, use the attached string or a pool net to retrieve it and view the reading.
- 7.3 inches tall, 1.8 inches wide at the top.
- Reads up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius)
- It’s $9.99
- Large enough for easy reading
- No digital display
- No distinguishing features
Best LCD Thermometer
Inkbird IBS-P01 Floating Water Temperature Thermometer
LCDs are cheaper and clearer than ever, which is great when trying to measure your pool’s water temperature on particularly bright summer days. The Inkbird IBS-P01 is a floating digital thermometer that you can put in any recreational body of water including hot tubs, fishponds, and Jacuzzis in the same way as analog thermometers.
Aside from the inner workings, you use it just like an analog thermometer and place it in the water for a few seconds. At only $10 more than the analog eLander, the added precision and speed of the readings may be worth the added cost.
The circular display shows two readings indicating the temperature range and a battery status indicator. It runs on a pair of AA batteries.
- 12-month warranty
- Digital display
- Circular white minimalist design
- Reads up to 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius)
- Easy-to-read LCD
- Inexpensive ($19.99)
- High range of readings
- No Bluetooth
- Prone to fogging
- Not super precise
- Batteries need to be replaced
Best Wi-Fi Thermometer
Ambient Weather WS-50-F007PF WiFi Smart Floating Thermometer
If you want a thermometer that does everything, it’s hard to beat this floating Wi-Fi thermometer by Ambient Weather. This product does more than just take the water temperature (don’t worry, it still does that) because, with a built-in barometer, wireless hardware, a stand-alone console, and smart home compatibility, this is truly a thermometer for geeks.
Getting everything to work just like you want it to may take some experimentation. You’ll need to set up your own remote monitoring system with the Wi-Fi console and connect to the Ambient Weather Network, the manufacturer’s web server. There is also an option to upload your data to WeatherUnderground so you can compare weather data.
Unsurprisingly, this one’s a little pricey.
- Control unit supports up to 10 sensors
- Records min and max temperature values
- Thermometer updates every 60 seconds
- Measures humidity and barometric pressure
- Remote monitoring
- Up to 300 feet line of sight
- Remote sensors
- Realtime monitoring
- Temperature accessible through phone or smart device
- Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
- Expensive ($109.99)
- Difficult to use
- Temperature range underwhelming for such a high price tag
Best Infrared Thermometer
Etekcity Infrared 1022D Dual Laser Temperature Gun
If you want a thermometer that can do more than take water temperatures, an infrared temperature gun is a useful tool to have around the house. This model by Etekcity can take temperatures from a distance and works on oil, ice, food, and of course, water. While the product is generally safe to use, Etekcity warns not to use the gun to take body temperatures as it will not provide an accurate, diagnosable reading.
The portable handheld form factor of this thermometer makes it fun to use (relative to other thermometers) and an enticing gadget to toy around with. However, it’s important to realize that with infrared thermometers such as this one, you are only getting a surface reading, unlike a floating thermometer which sits a few inches below the water. Generally, subtracting five degrees will give you the true water temperature.
It runs on a 9v battery.
- Backlit LCD
- Class 2 laser
- 17-inch range
- ½ second response time
- -58 to 1022 degrees Fahrenheit (-50 to 550 degree Celsius) range
- Extremely high-temperature range
- Very accurate
- Fast reading
- Contactless measurement
- Easy to read
- More expensive than standard thermometers
- Uses a disposable battery
- Not as durable as other options
- Only measures surface temperature
Best for Kids
Milliard Floating Pool Thermometer
When you have kids, anything that can entertain them even briefly is a boon to any parent. Milliard makes a variety of inexpensive thermometers that accurately capture the water temperature while providing visual novelty through unique designs which include bears, flamingos, turtles, and other cute and playful animals that will interest children. Just maybe, they may even enjoy learning about the importance of water temperature in your pool!
Much like the eLander thermometer above, you can place this Milliard thermometer in the pool for several seconds to get an accurate reading. If you’d rather not chase after it later, the attached rope tether will keep the thermometer in place while it measures the water temperature.
- 7” tall
- ABS plastic build
- Rope tether
- Fahrenheit and Celsius reading
- Attractive and cute design
- Doubles as a fun pool toy for kids
- Fairly accurate for the price
- Small print
- Hard to read
- No extra features
Best Solar Powered Thermometer
GAME 14030-BB Solar Digital Pool Thermometer
While many more expensive options have solar power standard, you can still save money without the inconvenience of replacing batteries. This thermometer by GAME is a relatively inexpensive option that will spare you from extra hassle on top of other pool maintenance.
This model aesthetically complements the color profile of your pool and has a tether string to anchor it in place. The built-in LCD has large and easy-to-read text to reduce eye strain on bright summer days. However, it is worth noting that the screen sits at a strange angle when viewing from above.
- Double-sided display
- LCD Screen
- Solar power
- Rope tether
- 5” depth reading
- Fahrenheit and Celsius reading
- No need to replace batteries
- Inexpensive ($24.99 on Amazon)
- Large Display
- Display not backlit
- Screen sits at a weird viewing angle
- Durability complaints
How a Pool Thermometer Can Make Your Kids Enjoy the Pool More
Kids Prefer a Comfortable Temperature
The main reason to own a pool thermometer is to ensure the comfort of whoever swims in it. Nobody, especially your kids, would want to swim in cold water. Worse yet, swimming in water that’s too hot can cause overheating and dehydration which no one wants, especially when it comes to the safety of your children. The solution? Use a pool thermometer to make sure the temperature is between 78- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit (26 and 28 degrees Celsius). That way your pool is a safe and beneficial place for your kids to enjoy themselves while staying active.
It Can Turn into a Fun Science Experiment
Nobody said water temperature was boring. By teaching your kids how to take the water temperature themselves, you can also expose them to other interesting concepts like thermodynamics, climate, weather, and even biology. Tell them how and why the water temperature isn’t the same as the air temperature or explain why water that is too hot or too cold can wreak havoc on the human body over time. The lesson may start with pool water, but where it may lead is boundless.
In composing this list, we’ve evaluated several factors to determine which pool thermometer is best for each category. With several options on the market, a good pool thermometer comes down to a few things:
- Ease of use
- Power source
- Build quality
Straining your eyes, especially when harsh summer sunlight has already relegated the family to wearing sunglasses, can be pretty painful. Dragging yourself out of the pool to track water into shaded (potentially moisture-vulnerable) places just to check the temperature is painstaking.
Ideally, you want a pool thermometer that you can see just by glancing at it. Not only is it easier, but it also gives you a far more useful number than you’d get by pulling it out of the pool to a shaded place for the temperature to shift as it moves through the air.
We’ve made sure that all thermometers on this list are, at the very least, legible from a distance.
You likely have a logical understanding of why accuracy is important. I mean, you want to maintain your pool between 78 and 82-degrees Fahrenheit (26 and 28 degrees Celsius) for you and your kids to be comfortable and safe. What good is a thermometer with a margin of error greater than 4 degrees? You already know — not very.
An accurate thermometer is also consistent. It’s easy to account for a five-degree temperature difference if you know to expect it. The most accurate thermometer on this list (the Etekcity Infrared) is accurate within less than one degree, but all thermometers on this list are accurate enough to ensure that your pool temperature stays within that ideal range.
Ease of Use
A pool thermometer you can’t figure out how to use is about as useful as a chopstick for taking your water temperature. While some thermometers compromise ease of use to make room for more complex capabilities (such as the Ambient Weather model), they should all, in an ideal world, be straightforward enough to figure out within a few minutes.
All thermometers on this list follow a basic premise — put it in water for a few seconds and read it (or with the Etekcity Infrared, point it and read it). You have some more complicated pool-related responsibilities, let taking the temperature be an easy one.
While pool thermometers may not have extensive power requirements, if you use yours a lot then the power source’s strengths and weaknesses will become evident. Changing the batteries is one of those monotonous, why-am-I-still-doing-this facts of life and if you’re trying to limit your consumption of disposable batteries for economic or environmental reasons, this becomes an important part of your decision.
While two models listed require disposable batteries, which may not be an issue for those who like to be “well-stocked” on batteries, the others are either analog or solar powered for a hassle-free experience.
Ideally, the pool thermometer you use should be able to withstand ample amounts of moisture (obviously), be able to take some abuse from your kids, and maintain its color clarity for several summers under harsh sunlight. While it might seem logical that manufacturers are easily able to make a small and simple contraption durable, there are many thermometers out there that haven’t been tested to stand the test of time.
Some of these models are more durable than others, but you can expect that the more you pay for these the better the build quality will be. If this is a huge factor in your decision, inexpensive analog thermometers are hardy workhorses that will serve you for a surprisingly long time.
Finally, you almost certainly don’t want to spend any more than you need to get the job done. Some people are indeed able and willing to pay more than others for extra features and we certainly understand the appeal, but a good product at a lower cost is always better than the same product at a higher cost.
For those on a budget, even the cheapest options here are more than adequate for taking an accurate pool temperature reading. The more you pay, the more you get in addition to the basic function of a pool thermometer. While the Ambient Weather WiFi thermometer costs over 100 dollars, this product can be more aptly described as a water monitoring system than a mere thermometer.
Enough reading about them, buy a thermometer now so you can enjoy your new pool!