Best Digital & Wireless Swimming Pool Thermometers for 2019 — Guide & Review

4 Popular Products / Only 1 Winner

If you’re reading this, I probably don’t need to tell you why maintaining the “correct” swimming pool temperature is such an important aspect of owning a pool

And while knowing what temperature to shoot for can be a tough decision by itself, you also have the challenge of actually keeping the numbers constant. (The big toe test just doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid.)

That’s where a trusty swimming pool thermometer comes in, and you might be surprised at just how far these things have come in recent years.

As always, let’s go through your options.

The following pool thermometers have been chosen for comparison since they’re regarded as the most popular options among pool owners today.

Enter the brave candidates:

Note — If you’re just here to get a breakdown of your options, you can click here to jump straight to the product review section.

Why Should You Buy A Pool Thermometer?

There are a number of reasons to get yourself a pool thermometer, and if you’re reading this guide, you’re no doubt aware of at least some them.

  • Kids: It’s no secret that children are more sensitive to lower temperatures than adults, and if you don’t want to be nursing your littlen’s cold, you better keep tabs on your pool water.
  • Chemicals: Swimming pools that get too hot (between 78-82 degrees fahrenheit) not only burn through chlorine faster, but they’re also much more likely to have issues with algae growth and scale formation. That’s a big no-no.
  • Preference: Aside from the health benefits of maintaining your pool temperature, it’s also just nice to step into a pool that isn’t too hot or cold, right?

What Types Of Pool Thermometers Can You Buy?

When looking at the different types of swimming pool thermometers available, it can sometime be hard to know what exactly to go for.

As with most things, there’s really no one-size-fits-all solution. It’s simply a case of understanding your options so you can make a more informed buying decision.

#1 — Digital & Wireless Pool Thermometers

Digital pool thermometers use a sensing probe which is submerged in the water, allowing it to relay a temperature reading to the display.

While you can find these as one whole unit, it’s much more common to find wireless digital pool thermometers that operate as two separate devices — sometimes referred to as remote pool thermometers.

They work using a sensor/transmitter, which stays in the water, and an individual receiver, which can be at some distance from the pool.

These wireless/remote thermometers typically use Bluetooth or WiFi to send the information, with some even leveraging smart phone apps to effectively turn your phone into a ‘smart receiver’.

Digital pool thermometers, and particularly wireless (or remote) models are now the standard when it comes to checking pool water temperature.

#2 — Analog Pool Thermometers

Analog thermometers are what you would typically think of when you hear the word “thermometer”, where the display is essentially a thin strip of plastic or glass, with mercury (or alcohol) rising to indicate the exact temperature.

While these are cheaper and potentially longer-lasting, they’re not always as accurate as digital thermometers, not to mention that they’re unable to leverage wireless technology — so the convenience factor is also missing.

 

There’s certainly nothing wrong with using an analog thermometer, but most pool owners today prefer digital for the many advantages it offers.

Note — While this guide is primarily based on digital and wireless thermometers, I will include my top-pick for those who wish to go the analog route, though I still recommend going digital if at all possible.

Floating Vs Hanging Vs Handheld

As noted above, the two core pool thermometer categories you’ll find on the market are digital, and analog — but there are still technically “types” within those.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Floating: Floating thermometers—or those that sit on the surface of the water—come in both digital and analog forms, and are slightly less accurate since they aren’t properly submerged.
  • Hanging: Hanging thermometers, as the name suggests, simply means they hang into the water, often tied to the side of the pool or ladder a few inches deep using string to keep it stable.​​​​​
  • handheld: Handheld thermometers are either placed into the water temporarily (until an accurate reading is possible) or come in the form of a ‘point and shoot’ infrared laser.

Choosing The Best Digital Pool Thermometer

Knowing which type to look for will narrow your options down to some degree, but it still doesn’t tell you what the right product is.

If you really wanna drill down your options, you have the look at the factors behind what makes a great pool thermometer, well… great.

Display — How Easy Is It To Read?

This is something you wouldn’t necessarily think of when buying a pool thermometer, since you would just expect it to have a readable display.

Unfortunately, this can vary a lot from product-to-product, whether it’s the size of the display, the brightness (or backlight), or simply not your preferred unit of measurement.

It’s also worth considering that standard, non-wireless pool thermometers will add another layer of difficulty here, since you have to physically go out to your pool and take a reading.

Accuracy — How Accurate Is The Reading?

Regardless of whether you opt for analog or digital thermometers, the accuracy of any device can be off by a small or even, in some cases, a large amount.

While the overall quality of the product will contribute to the accuracy of your readings, it’s also worth considering things like the reading frequency, as well as the number of supported channels.

Note — “Channels” are the number of sensors you can hook up to the receiver, allowing you to get an overall more accurate reading by measuring different areas of your pool water. #technology

Distance — Can I Check Temperature From Afar?

In the swimming pool thermometer world (granted, it’s a small world), the distance from the sensor at which you can get a reading of your pool’s temperature is called the “line of sight”.

The line of sight can be anything from a few meters to hundreds of meters, so it’s important to understand what each product is capable of in this regard, especially if you intend to use it at longer distances.

As you no doubt gathered by now, this only relates to wireless, also sometimes referred to as “remote” pool thermometers.

Battery — What Is The Power Situation?

This is actually where analog pool thermometers get the (rare) upper hand, since they don’t need to rely on batteries in order to function.

Digital pool thermometers will either require regular household batteries to stay alive, or, in some cases, will harness the suns energy instead. That’s right — you can get solar-powered digital thermometers. (What a time we live in.)

In any case, you’ll want to consider not only how many batteries it takes and how often you have to change them, but also the more practical issues like having a solid battery indicator/alarm.

Durability — How Long Will This Thing Last?

Durability is something that’s always added to my reviews, because let’s be honest, nobody wants to buy a jank product that’ll need replacing in a few months.

So how do you ensure you get a reliable digital pool thermometer?

  • Brand: Buying into an established and trusted brand is the single best way to ensure you’re getting a quality product before you’ve had the chance to hold and test it yourself.
  • Reviews: Assuming you have a large enough sample size, you can get a general idea of build quality and average product lifespan by looking at existing reviews. (This will already be included in my comparison below.)
  • Warranty: Not only is a longer warranty period a sign of confidence from the manufacturer, but it’s also something you should factor into your decision as even the best products can fail from time to time.

Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a pool thermometer, you’ll be able to use the comparisons below to make a more informed decision about which makes sense for you and your needs.

The following products were hand-picked for review, where they have been evaluated and rated based on the same criteria I outlined above.

1. Ambient Weather WS-14 Wireless, Floating Pool and Spa Thermometer

  • Display: 4.5 out of 5
  • Accuracy: 4 out of 5
  • Distance: 3.5 out of 5
  • Battery: 4 out of 5
  • Durability: 3.5 out of 5

The WS-14 is a digital, wireless pool thermometer from Ambient Weather that floats on the surface, supports up to 8 connected devices and supports a reasonable line of sight up to 100 feet.

One thing to note about this model is that it requires a total of 7-AAA batteries, with 4 going in the sensor, and 3 in the receiver. You will also need to swap out the desiccant pack (absorbs moisture) when changing the batteries, but that’s pretty standard.

The display is very clear, and can even be read from across the room, assuming you have at least a decent level of eye sight.

The biggest complaint would have to be the build quality, which, strangely enough, seems to heavily debated among users. While some have seen several years from this device, others have barely gotten 3 months of use. Make of that what you will.

2. Raytek MT6 Non-contact MiniTemp Infrared Thermometer

  • Display: 5 out of 5
  • Accuracy: 4.5 out of 5
  • Distance: 2.5 out of 5
  • Battery: 4.5 out of 5
  • Durability: 4.5 out of 5

The MT6 is a digital, handheld infrared thermometer from Raytek that can be pointed at almost any surface to get an accurate reading of temperature, though you don’t quite get the distance promised with remote pool thermometers.

Surprisingly — or unsurprisingly, given the the price point — this particular odel has been the best all-round thermometer from this selection, and if you can forgive the lack of a remote receiver, it’s definitely a solid investment.

As a side note, this isn’t strictly made for use with swimming pools and can actually be used to measure pretty much anything you can point a stick laser at.

3. HydroTools by Swimline Digital Pool & Spa Thermometer

  • Display: 4.5 out of 5
  • Accuracy: 4 out of 5
  • Distance: 2 out of 5
  • Battery: 2.5 out of 5
  • Durability: 2 out of 5

The HydroTools digital pool and spa thermometer from Swimline is non-wireless, floating device with an easy to read LCD display.

The appeal of this model is the price point, which is even comparable to some analog pool thermometers, though that does leave some doubt over the build quality. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the problem with this thermometer — it doesn’t last.

If that wasn’t bad enough, many users aren’t fond of the default unit of measurement being degrees celsius, especially since switching to fahrenheit can take several (fiddly) clicks to get to.

4. Milliard Floating Thermometer For Pools, Hot Tubs, Spa, Jacuzzi and Pond

  • Display: 3.5 out of 5
  • Accuracy: 4 out of 5
  • Distance: 2 out of 5
  • Battery: 5 out of 5
  • Durability: 3.5 out of 5

This analog, floating pool thermometer from Milliard is a very standard alternative to the others mentioned, but it gets the job done if you need something on a tight budget.

Of course, this type of thermometer inherently lacks some of the more modern benefits, like a remote receiver or digital display — though battery life is something you won’t have to concern yourself with.

Conclusion

So there you have it, my roundup and review of the best digital and wireless swimming pool thermometers — and a best-selling analog thrown in for good measure.

Good luck and happy swimming!