Difference Wiki

Laboratory Thermometer vs. Clinical Thermometer: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 27, 2023
Laboratory thermometer measures a wide range of temperatures; Clinical thermometer used specifically for body temperature.

Key Differences

Laboratory thermometers are designed for scientific purposes, offering a broad temperature range. Clinical thermometers are specialized for medical use, precisely measuring human body temperature.
The laboratory thermometer can measure extreme temperatures, essential for experiments. In contrast, the clinical thermometer has a limited range suitable for fever detection.
Durability and chemical resistance are key in laboratory thermometers for varied environments. Clinical thermometers prioritize safety and ease of use for patients.
Laboratory thermometers often have no physical constraints on temperature readings. Clinical thermometers usually feature a constriction to hold the mercury column at the maximum temperature.
Calibration in laboratory thermometers is for a wide range of temperatures, while clinical thermometers are specifically calibrated for human body temperature ranges.

Comparison Chart


Broad scientific use.
Measuring body temperature.

Temperature Range

Wide range, for various experiments.
Narrow range, specific to human body temperature.


Durable, chemical-resistant.
Safe, easy-to-read, often with a mercury constriction.


For diverse temperature ranges.
Specifically for body temperature range.


In labs for various tests.
In medical settings for health assessment.

Laboratory Thermometer and Clinical Thermometer Definitions

Laboratory Thermometer

Used in scientific experiments.
We used a laboratory thermometer to monitor the chemical reaction.

Clinical Thermometer

Measures human body temperature.
The clinical thermometer indicated a fever of 38.5°C.

Laboratory Thermometer

Can measure extreme temperatures.
The laboratory thermometer is essential for experiments requiring high heat.

Clinical Thermometer

Usually has a limited temperature range.
The clinical thermometer is calibrated for typical human body temperatures.

Laboratory Thermometer

Measures a wide range of temperatures.
The laboratory thermometer showed the solution's temperature as 150°C.

Clinical Thermometer

Designed for medical use.
Doctors use a clinical thermometer for a quick temperature check.

Laboratory Thermometer

Durable and versatile for lab use.
The laboratory thermometer remained accurate even after years of use.

Clinical Thermometer

Easy to use and read for patients.
The clinical thermometer's large display makes reading temperatures easy.

Laboratory Thermometer

Often more sensitive than clinical types.
The laboratory thermometer detected even minor temperature changes during the experiment.

Clinical Thermometer

Often features a mercury constriction.
The mercury in the clinical thermometer rises to indicate temperature.


How accurate are laboratory thermometers?

Highly accurate for a broad range of temperatures.

Are laboratory thermometers safe for medical use?

They are not recommended for clinical use due to their wide range and design.

What is a laboratory thermometer?

A device for measuring a wide range of temperatures in scientific settings.

What materials are laboratory thermometers made from?

Often glass, with chemical-resistant properties.

Can clinical thermometers measure high temperatures?

They are limited to the range of human body temperatures.

Can a laboratory thermometer measure boiling water?

Yes, it's designed to measure high temperatures.

Do laboratory thermometers require special handling?

Yes, due to their sensitivity and potential for chemical exposure.

What is a clinical thermometer?

A thermometer specifically designed for measuring human body temperature.

Why do clinical thermometers have a mercury constriction?

To hold the mercury at the highest temperature reached until reset.

Is a clinical thermometer suitable for measuring room temperature?

No, its range is too limited for environmental temperatures.

Do clinical thermometers have safety features?

Yes, like shatter-resistance and non-toxic materials.

Can laboratory thermometers be used in chemistry experiments?

Yes, they are ideal for various scientific applications.

Are laboratory thermometers calibrated frequently?

Yes, to maintain accuracy over various ranges.

Can laboratory thermometers withstand acidic conditions?

Yes, they are designed to resist chemical damage.

Are clinical thermometers digital or mercury-based?

They can be either, depending on the design.

How quickly does a clinical thermometer provide readings?

Usually within a few minutes.

What is the main use of a clinical thermometer?

To assess patient health by measuring body temperature.

How do you reset a clinical thermometer?

By shaking it down until the mercury falls.

What's the usual temperature range of a clinical thermometer?

Typically from about 35°C to 42°C.

Are laboratory thermometers used in hospitals?

Rarely, as they are more suited for laboratory environments.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons