Digital or analogue thermometer?
This can be a matter of preference, and there is actually no definitive answer; it completely depends on the situation.
Think about kitchen scales – some people like digital ones as they can be accurate to within as little as 0.1g, but some will always stick to the old analogue models as they can be more reliable with power, not give misreadings and will last longer.
You face the same issues when choosing a reptile thermometer. Digital ones are easy to read at a glance, requiring no difficult working out, which is vital if getting your reptiles living quarters just right is a matter of life and death.
But analogue ones can last longer, take up less space and won’t suffer from ‘electronic’ issues. This could be vital if you don’t want to have to rely on electricity to control everything, or if you have had issues in the past with things breaking.
Analogue may also be easier to place anywhere in the tank, as they are more lightweight with fewer pieces. Many come ready to just stick to the tank, whereas it could be more complicated to fit a digital probe.
However, a digital thermometer only requires the probe to be in the tank with the screen sitting outside. An analogue model will need to completely be in the tank.
We would suggest maybe having both in the tank if you’re concerned about any electrical issues, or having enough time to rectify them. At the very least, perhaps have a handheld manual gauge to hand which you can check daily to ensure all the digital equipment is working well.
What is an infrared thermometer?
This is a sub-type of digital. Rather than placing the entire thermometer in the tank for reading, the infrared thermometer is handheld. You point an infrared beam at the point you want to take a reading from, and it is pretty immediate.
It is a great option for anyone who needs to take readings from different parts of the tank, multiple tanks, or parts of their reptile such as a tortoises shell.