Kinsa Smart Stick Thermometer

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Kinsa Smart Stick Thermometer

Do you want your thermometer to give you more data than mere degrees? There's an app for that.

We recommend the Kinsa Smart Stick thermometer for tech-friendly users who want a smarter thermometer and don't mind a little extra setup time. The batteryless Smart Stick and its corresponding app give you accurate readings, the ability to create multiple user profiles, health tracking and tips, and information about local illnesses.

How Does It Work?

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In order to use the Smart Stick, you need to plug it into a compatible smartphone's 3 mm headphone jack. iPhone 7 and up users will need an additional adapter. The first time you use your Smart Stick, you use the included calibration adapter to connect the thermometer to your phone.

Once you're all set, on the app's home screen, tap "Take Temperature." Choose your reading location and connect your Smart Stick directly to your phone (you can also use the extension cord). A progress screen with moving bubbles appears once the thermometer is in place. After about 12 seconds, you'll see the temperature on your phone.

From there, you can add photos and symptoms for future reference. If the the app determines a reading shows a high fever, you'll also see health care guidelines based on the user's age and symptoms.

What Works

- Accurate temperature readings in 12 seconds. For increased accuracy, you can enable a long read mode in the app's settings.

- No batteries are required.

- The free Kinsa Smart Thermometer app (available on iOS and Android) connects to Apple HealthKit.

- You can create multiple user profiles.

- The thermometer's flexible tip is covered in a grippy silicone to make readings more comfortable and to prevent slippage. 

- Based on your temperature, symptoms, age, and sex, the app provides health care tips sourced from Mayo Clinic.

- The progress screen is a bubble-popping game that can distract kids while they wait.  

- Parents can use the app to find out what bugs are going around local schools. Kinsa currently aggregates health information from over 600 schools throughout the U.S.

- Through data from local users, older users will also get a sense of what common illnesses are going around their city.

- Since the reading appears on your phone, you can make the notification as loud or quiet as you want.

What Could Be Better

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- The Kinsa Smart Stick itself is useless without the app on a compatible smartphone. Also, you'll need to avoid upgrading your phone or updating your operating system until the Kinsa team catches up.

- Using the Smart Stick without the extension cord was awkward. It felt like holding your phone in front of your mouth when it's on speakerphone.

- You will probably lose the extension cord if you disconnect it. The Smart Stick snugly snaps into the cord and it's not easy to unplug accidentally. We recommend keeping them connected and storing them together in the included case.

- Their lukewarm return policy requires users to pay for shipping.

- The iOS app proved to be less intuitive than the Android app when we tested this thermometer.

Warranty and Customer Service

The 30-day return policy on opened or unopened thermometers only applies to sales made directly through Kinsa's website and return shipping isn't covered. With a price tag that hovers around $15, return shipping might not be worth the refund.

The Kinsa Smart Stick comes with a one year warranty that only covers the thermometer. It also applies to purchases made through Amazon. A faulty thermometer will be repaired or replaced by Kinsa, but you will have to pay for shipping (unless your state prohibits it).