How to Choose the Best Pool Thermometer

When you have a pool for the summer, you need to have a pool thermometer to monitor the water temperature. When choosing a pool thermometer, several factors need to be weighed. Find out more.

Many factors make a pool thermometer a good buy. Some important things to look out for are ease of use, accurate readings, and features like water-resistant/waterproofing that enable it to be used in different weather conditions without getting compromised with water damage or rusting.

We also considered safety features like the auto-shut-off mechanism. In this article, we look at some of the important things to search for when buying a pool thermometer.

What Is a Pool Thermometer, and Why Should Pool Owners Have It Ready?

A pool thermometer is like a thermostat, but instead of controlling the temperature in an enclosed room, the pool thermometer controls the temperature of the swimming pool.

A pool thermometer showing  temperature of pool

A pool thermometer can be used to control water temperature in pools for water treatment systems, air circulation systems, automatic skimmers, and filtration systems. 

Each individual has a preference for what the perfect swimming temperature should be. Children are sensitive to cold water, while adults want a colder temperature for more refreshing dips.

This is quite accurate for people who need a specific temperature, whether for health concerns or to keep their body to a comfortable temperature.

It’s also worth noting that warmer pools consume more chlorine faster. Also, algae like warm water more. So monitoring your pool temperature has a lot of benefits.

Kinds of Thermometers You Can Use in the Pool

Swimming pool thermometers are available in several shapes and sizes, each with its own set of distinguishing characteristics, quality, and price range.

We’ll show you the types of thermometers available for your pool. Plus, the advantages and disadvantages of each.

1. Wireless and Digital Swimming Pool Thermometers

A digital pool thermometer operates using a sensor probe that allows it to transmit the temperature measurement to the display.

Nowadays, most digital pool thermometers are wireless (sometimes referred to as remote pool thermometers), which means they are composed of two distinct devices.

Using a digital thermometer with probe to check sink water

1. Sensor – This device is responsible for delivering temperature to the receiver wirelessly.

2. Receiver – This device then collects data from the sensor, giving you a reading.

Bluetooth or WiFi usually powers this remote system, and some versions have even begun to use smartphone applications to transform your phone into a receiver.

Digital pool thermometers are presently the most popular (and most often offered) variety for checking pool water temperature, especially wireless models.


  • Fast
  • Accurate
  • User-friendly


  • More expensive

2. Analog Swimming Pool Thermometers

Analog pool thermometers are a traditional type of swimming pool thermometer that doesn’t need any digital interface. These pool thermometers use a glass, alcohol, or mercury-filled tube to measure the water temperature.

An analog pool thermometer checking swimming pool

The main advantages of analog pools are the low cost and ease of use. The only flaw is that you have to read the temperature from its scale manually, so it can take up to 2 times longer to take a reading than with a digital version.

The old-fashioned way may not be as fancy as digital versions, but it will not cost much either and is quite accurate too. For those who want something that works well without extra features, analog pools should be your go.


  • Less expensive
  • Ease of use
  • More longevity


  • Slow reading
  • Less convenient

Types of Digital and Analog Thermometers

1. Floating Pool Thermometers

A floating thermometer is a type of pool thermometer that floats on the surface of the swimming pool. It is available as a standard water-resistant dial-face with an attached string and ball or as a digital LCD screen that is buoyant and calculates your swimming pool temperature.

A handheld pool thermometer checking pool water temperature

Floating thermometers are best suited for pools that don’t have any diving boards, as they’ll end up at the bottom of the swimming pool if they’re not appropriately anchored. A downside to this type of display is that it’s hard to see its markings when you’re actually in the water because you need to be standing outside of the water and next to your pool. 

2. Hanging Pool Thermometers

Hanging pool thermometers are your traditional red-dial thermometers, with the display hanging from a string or sometimes on a metal bracket attached to the side of the pool. These types of thermometers are more convenient for people who plan on checking their pool’s temperature while they’re actually in the pool. 

For those regions that don’t usually experience freezing temperatures, this type of thermometer is also less expensive than other types since there’s not as much demand for temperature readings outside of spring months.

3. Handheld Pool Thermometers

Handheld pool thermometers are a convenient way to measure your swimming pool’s temperature. They are available in either alcohol, mercury-filled glass, or point-and-shoot infrared lasers.

Which Type Is Better for Us?

In the end, it’s simply a matter of preference. Many people feel that hanging thermometers are best because they can get a reading while they’re actually in the water, while others prefer to use a handheld model since it doesn’t rely on having someone standing near the pool 24/7.

It’s also worth noting that most digital or hanging displays will give you a reading within 1-2 minutes. Still, if you’re using an analog display, then you’ll have to manually read your temperature and add in much time for this process.

Tips to Choose the Best Digital Pool Thermometer

Knowing what sort of product to look for can help you limit down your alternatives, but it will not assist you in determining the nuances that make or break a certain product.

A blue pool thermometer near metal stair of swimming pool

If you’re shopping for a pool thermometer, here are several features and functions to keep an eye on.

Ease of Reading

Temperature readings are supposed to be instantaneous, but the only way you’ll get this sort of speed is if the display is easy to read.

Two main factors determine how easily readable a thermometer is. The first factor is the size since it’s easier to read an LCD when it’s bigger rather than having to squint at a small-sized dial.

The second factor is brightness, which refers to how well the background of the thermometer contrasts with the actual numbers. A dark background with white or black numbers makes it much simpler to determine your measurement. 

Ideally, it would benefit if you looked for a thermometer with both size and brightness in mind.

Trust in Reviews

Reviews often speak louder than product descriptions. For example, the Etekcity Infrared Thermometer Gun, praised by nearly 40,000 reviews, shines with a 4.6-star rating. Similarly, the GAME 14030-BB Solar Digital Pool & Spa Thermometer has been backed by 5,000 users, earning a strong 4.4 rating. Reviews can help you gauge a product’s real-world performance.

Multiple Options

A good pool thermometer should fit your needs. Some are solar-powered, saving you from the hassle of battery changes. And did you know? You can buy thermometers in sets, useful if you’ve got a pool and a spa. Also, to keep them from floating away, check for thermometers with a string option.

Simple yet Functional Design

Design isn’t just about looks. Features like a laser guide can make a thermometer easier to use. And even basic-looking thermometers can give accurate temperature readings between 20 to 120 °F (-10 to 50 °C). They’re also built to withstand the typical wear and tear of pools.

Ratings Highlight Quality

Ratings give a quick quality check. The Aqua EZ Pool Thermometer, with its 4.2 rating from 109 reviews, or the solar-powered LCD of the Northlight Digital Solar Floating Pool Thermometer, can guide you to quality choices.

A Handy Cord

The cord of a pool thermometer is a small but useful feature. By tying it to pool ladders, it stays submerged, ensuring more accurate readings. It’s a simple yet effective solution for precise temperature measurements.

Accurate Readings are Key

Accuracy matters. While some thermometers show temperatures in 2-degree steps on both Fahrenheit and Celsius scales, others might be even more precise. Remember, an accurate thermometer means a more enjoyable swim.

Pairing with Pool Ladders

Pool ladders aren’t just for climbing. Attach your thermometer to one using its string, ensuring it remains in place for better temperature checks.

Accuracy of the Thermometer Reading

Accuracy is one of the most important elements to look at when searching for a digital pool thermometer.

Suppose you’re going to use your pool’s thermometer. In that case, you need to trust it with your safety. If the swimming pool thermometer isn’t accurate enough to give you a reading within a reasonable margin of error, then what’s the point in buying it? Most cheap pool thermometers are only accurate within plus or minus 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Digital models can be as accurate as plus or minus 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit, while some analog models can be off by several degrees. If you’re buying a pool thermometer to protect your swimming pool investment, it’s essential to seek out one that is accurate enough to be worth its weight of purchase.

Note: "Channels" refer to the number of sensors that may be connected to the receiver, allowing you to get a more accurate total reading by monitoring different parts of your pool water” - Rick, author at

Range of Transmission

Digital thermometers are not always available in a wide transmission range, which refers to their accessibility from your pool’s surface.

In most cases, you’ll only get a reading from your swimming pool if it is within 60 feet or less from your house. However, suppose you’re going to be putting the thermometer in the kiddie pool instead of an actual swimming pool. In that case, this type of range becomes both irrelevant and misleading since you’ll need a smaller range for a smaller-sized kiddie pool. 

You’ll find that digital thermometers with long-range transmission will cost a lot more money than one with shorter ranges.

Battery Life

When looking for a digital pool thermometer, it’s essential to consider how long each battery will last. You can expect batteries to last about 2-3 months before they need replacing.

Some models may be rechargeable, but this feature can make the unit both more expensive and more complicated to use since you’ll have to charge the device every night before using it. Look for a model that has a standard battery life of close to 3 months for best results.

Our Best Bet

After weighing up the pool thermometer based on the many types, features, and functions available on the market, there is only one winner for us.

A blue thermometer used in garden pool

That is, of course, a handheld pool thermometer or an infrared gun. It is precise, durable, easy to use, and versatile enough to be used in situations other than pool care.

However, if you’re looking for something cheaper, we recommend using an analog pool thermometer instead. This still gets the job done and won’t cost you too much effort. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is it important to know my pool’s temperature?

Knowing your pool’s temperature helps maintain comfort, manage heating costs, and ensure it’s safe for swimming, especially for sensitive individuals like children or the elderly.

Where in the pool should I place the thermometer?

It should be placed in the water away from the pool’s edge and heating elements, ideally at mid-water depth.

Do I need a special thermometer for a saltwater pool?

No, standard pool thermometers work in both saltwater and chlorinated pools.

What is the ideal swimming pool temperature?

The ideal temperature varies but is typically around 78°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C) for recreational swimming.

Are digital thermometers better than analog ones?

Digital thermometers offer more features and precision, but analog thermometers are generally more durable and easier to use.

You can find great articles about pools on our website. Maintaining a swimming pool is not as difficult as you might think. Below are a few tips to get you started. Have fun!

1 thought on “How to Choose the Best Pool Thermometer”

  1. Hello there,

    I swim every morning in an open air public lido here in London. It’s a 50 meter pool and it’s unheated all year round. I and my fellow cold swimmers are not always convinced by the temperature they write on the board. I was wondering what the best way would be to measure the temperature for accuracy? I notice that they stick a thermometer in the shallow end for a short time, but, given the choice and size of pool, would one not be better measuring the temperature in the deep end, or getting an average of several readings? I wonder what you would advice in an ideal world?

    Many thanks.


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