About Kinsa Smart Thermometer
Whether it’s in the kitchen, in our car, or while we’re sleeping, we’re surrounded by gadgets and gizmos that help us keep up with modern life—or at the very least, make it a little more manageable. But even with all these rapid advances in “lifestyle technology,” they’re not always brand new products; they’re just re-imagined versions of ones we’re been using for decades.
Take the Kinsa Smart Thermometer, for example. At first glance, this FDA-cleared device looks a lot like an old school thermometer your mom or dad might’ve used when you were young. But take a closer look and you’ll see they’re nothing alike. Why?
Because the Kinsa Smart Thermometer plugs directly into your smartphone and uses its processing power to give you an accurate temperature reading in just 10 seconds. Then, this information is sent to Kinsa’s app, which allows you to track symptoms, take pictures, record custom notes, see what’s going on at your child’s school, and even pass the info you’ve collected on to your pediatrician.
All of which means that you’ll be able to cut out the guesswork and keep an eye on your child’s illnesses from beginning to end, making the Kinsa Smart Thermometer the “#1 parenting tool for fighting flu.”
Is it right for you, though? In other words, just how much use will you get out of all of Kinsa’s features, and how much real-world value will it provide? We’ll explore all of this—and a whole lot more—in this review.
Just How “Sick” Is the Kinsa Smart Thermometer?
The Kinsa Smart Stick
Like we mentioned above, at one end, Kinsa’s Smart Stick basically looks like any other thermometer. It’s thin, flexible, and comfortable, and according to the company, the “most unbreakable thermometer on the market for all ages.”
On the other end, however, you’ll find that the Smart Thermometer has the ability to plug directly into the headphone jack of your smartphone. Or, if you’re looking for some extra elbow room, you can attach it to the included extension cord.
Except for the fact that it can plug into your smartphone’s headphone jack, Kinsa doesn’t look (or operate) a whole lot different than a traditional digital thermometer.
Because the Kinsa Thermometer plugs into your smartphone, it offers 25,000X the processing power of a regular digital thermometer, giving you an accurate reading within 10 seconds, without relying on any internal electronics, You also won’t have to worry about batteries, so the lightweight Kinsa will always be ready when you need, whether for infants, children, or adults.
But, arguably the biggest benefit of the Kinsa Smart Thermometer is its companion app, which we’ll talk about next.
Kinsa’s Companion App
Available for iPhones running iOS 8.0 and later, as well as Android phones running Jelly Bean (v 4.1) and later, Kinsa’s app can be set up and calibrated in less than 90 seconds. Then, you’ll be able to create unique profiles for each of your family members, where you can track temperature readings, symptoms, medication and timing, save photos, and even get real-time medical guidance (similar to information you get by calling a nurse) from top experts directly in the app, so you’ll quickly know if there’s cause for concern. You can even send the information you’ve gathered directly to your health professional.
Based on the information you’ve gathered, Kinsa’s app can provide health guidance to help put your mind at ease.
And while this is all great, here’s where the power of Kinsa really comes in: If you’re child’s sick, you can see how healthy their school is today and quickly find out about common symptoms and illnesses going around. You’ll even be able to join a Group (whether anonymously or otherwise), where you can review other members’ notes, questions, and responses about illnesses in the area (remember this, because we’ll come back to it shortly).
Taking all of this together, the Kinsa Smart Thermometer basically works over four steps:
- Open the app on your smartphone.
- Tap the Take Temperature button and choose your reading method (oral, under arm, or rectal).
- Put the Smart Stick into your phone’s headphone jack, whether directly or using the included extension cord.
- Put the thermometer in place and take your reading. That’s it!
Pretty cool, right? But how much will all this seamless technology cost you?
Is Kinsa Smart Thermometer Priced Wisely?
Kinsa’s Smart Stick is priced at $24.99. It’s also available through a variety of third-part retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Apple Store, and CVS, but if purchased directly through Kinsa, it’ll come with free shipping.
Each Smart Thermometer comes with:
- 1 Setup Adapter
- 1 Extension Cord
- 1 Storage case
- 1 Quick Start Guide
- 1 Set of Instructions
All direct purchases also come with a 1-year money back guarantee (although this only applies to new, unopened items), along with a 1-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship under normal use.
In order to request a refund or process a warranty claim, Kinsa’s customer service department can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Considering the Smart Thermometer’s high-tech design and reasonable price, are customers pleased with its performance? Let’s find out.
Do Customers Like Their Kinsa Smart Thermometer?
The Kinsa Smart Thermometer had already garnered 228 Amazon customer reviews at the time of our research, with a solid average rating of 4.2 stars. There, most seemed pleased with its ease of use (especially the bubble-popping game kids can play while their temperature is being taken) and its tracking capabilities. On the other hand, a lot of customers complained about software difficulties (inability to work) and inaccurate readings.
On BestBuy.com, 28 customers provided their feedback about the Kinsa Thermometer, giving it an average rating of 4.6 stars. Here, most of the compliments and complaints mirrored those found on Amazon.
TechHive gave the Kinsa a 4-star rating, noting that “it's cool enough that the whole family will want to use it.” In fact, their only real complaint was that taking temperatures without the extension cord can be awkward.
Outside of these, the Kinsa Smart Thermometer has received a lot of media attention by the likes of Forbes, Fast Company, The Washington Post, and many more. However, most of these were high-level overviews instead of in-depth reviews.
Alright, we’ve covered a lot of territory up to this point, and basically, we’re left with an inexpensive device that’s received very high marks from customers. But does this necessarily mean you should splurge on the Kinsa Smart Thermometer? Let’s wrap everything up.
Some Parting Thoughts About the Kinsa Smart Thermometer
Just How Well Will Kinsa “Fight” Flu?
According to Inder Singh, Kinsa’s Founder and CEO, the ultimate goal for the Smart Thermometer is to “create a real-time map of human health to track—and stop—the spread of communicable illness.” And based on what’s emphasized on their website, it seems like they’re especially focused on the flu. Why do we bring this up? Two reasons:
Although it might be obvious, tracking illnesses is only as accurate as the number of Kinsa Smart Thermometers actively being used in a given area; the more Thermometers there are in relation to the total population of a town or city, the more accurate the data will be.
But it doesn’t appear that Kinsa tracks this data automatically, which only occurs if a user chooses to share their information (whether anonymously or by name). So, not only will you need a high Kinsa-to-population ratio in order to get solid data, but users in your area will also have to go the extra mile and share their information.
Given this, although Kinsa’s tracking features and basic medical guidance could certainly come in handy when your child gets sick, the main ways it “fights” the flu is through 1) early detection (again, if there are enough users in your area) and 2) by helping you track their progress. However, you’ll be the one that has to put up the “real” fight by taking your child to the doctor, administering medication, etc. Kinsa won’t change this one bit.
Is It Important That the Kinsa Thermometer Is FDA Cleared?
Definitely, because in our experience, it indicates the company is serious about complying with government regulations and bringing a safe product to the public.
But it’s important to remember that FDA “cleared” is not the same as “approved.” In other words, the FDA hasn’t necessarily tested “cleared” devices or verified that they work as advertised. Instead, it simply means that the company submitted a 510(k) premarket notification and that the device was found to be “substantially equivalent to another legally marketed device.” In this case, probably digital thermometers.
Kinsa Smart Thermometer: The Bottom Line
The flu (short for influenza) is caused by a couple different viruses, both of which are extremely contagious. In fact, your child can spread a flu virus up to one full day before they even begin exhibiting symptoms. To this extent, the Kinsa Smart Thermometer probably won’t help prevent your child from coming down with a case of the flu, but it certainly could help you identify symptoms—and begin treatment—earlier, thereby reducing their overall downtime.
And as a parent, you might’ve immediately picked up on Kinsa’s ability to track medication and timing, which is invaluable when your child’s in the thick of their illness. Now, you can throw out those crusty old paper charts!
But when the rubber meets the road, does all of this make the Kinsa Smart Thermometer a smart buy? Ultimately, that’s something only you can answer. But the device seems to come with very high online customer feedback, and the company offers a solid return policy if you’re dissatisfied, along with a strong warranty should something go wrong.
How useful did you find the Kinsa Smart Thermometer? If you could recommend anything to the company, what would it be? Tell us all about it by writing a review below!
5 out 5 people found this review helpful
Piece of junk
This device is junk. It gives multiple readings that are all over the board, from 99 to 103 within minutes. After purchasing it, I found out it uses your phone and supposedly projects sound waves to read the temperature. I'm very disappointed with it as I've taken my daughter to the doctor based on multiple readings of 102 to 103 only to find out she was barely over 99 when we got to the doctor.
Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend
1 out 1 people found this review helpful
Best thermometer I've ever had.
This had been one of the best things I've ever bought! I have three kids and when one gets sick, it's only a matter of time before the others do. I used to keep track of temperature check times, symptoms, and medicine doses on a dry erase board and phone. It could get a little hectic, and sometimes I would forget to write things down.
Now that I have Kinsa, I can keep things organized and documented so easily. If a visit to the doctor is required, all I have to do is open the app and give the details.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
I've had this for 3 years and never regretted buying it. We don't have to bother with batteries, it's compact and easy to use, and I love that we can track our symptoms and temps. We don't have kids any longer, but this thermometer still was a great buy - inexpensive, accurate, and long-lasting.
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend