The gallium thermometer

5 min read
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Le thermomètre au gallium

First of all, the gallium thermometer may not be familiar to you and yet... This glass thermometer, which measures the body temperature of young and old alike, quickly replaced its brother, the mercury thermometer. But then, what is gallium, how did the gallium thermometer come about and who is this medical thermometer useful for? The temperature taking experts at answer these different questions with you.

The history of the gallium thermometer 📖

Before telling you about this tool for measuring the temperature that we particularly like, do you know what gallium is?

Gallium, with symbol Ga and atomic number 31 in the periodic table of elements, is part of the family of poor metals alongside tin, lead, aluminum, etc. It has the distinction of having a relatively low melting point, namely 29.76 degrees Celsius; moreover, if you want to play apprentice chemist with your children, show them that gallium can melt in the hand, guaranteed effect! 👩‍🔬

The gallium thermometer is actually an instrument for measuring body temperature that consists of three combined elements: gallium (Ga), indium (In) and tin (Sn). This alloy, also called Galinstan®, came to replace mercury in clinical thermometers as early as December 1996, i.e. two years before the ban on the marketing of thermometers containing mercury. 

The gallium thermometer for the whole family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

More ecological and totally vintage in its glass case that we know well, the gallium thermometer is an object that makes us nostalgic and that is not toxic! The gallium thermometer is therefore a major health ally when you want to control your fever or take your children's temperature.

Its use : you can use it orally (oral use is done directly under the tongue), rectally (the most effective and frequent), axillary (i.e. under the armpit). For effective measurement, simply place the tip with probe at the chosen location and wait a few minutes. You will be able to read the temperature directly on the graduated bar of the gallium thermometer. Don't forget to disinfect your thermometer after each temperature measurement.

⚠️ To note ⚠️
If you can, of course, use the gallium thermometer at any age, the specialists of still recommend that you have an electronic/digital (forehead or ear) thermometer at home for infants. Indeed, non-invasive temperature taking with an infrared thermometer (which is perfect as a baby thermometer) is more recommended for young children.

The gallium thermometer in medicine cabinets 🩺

If we love its little vintage side, the gallium thermometer is no longer really the star of medical practices. Although they are small, practical and economical, reading the temperature on a graduated axis is neither the easiest nor the most accurate; we know that general practitioners and specialists need high precision thermometers whose temperature reading must be done easily and quickly. Moreover, the gallium thermometer is made of an alloy of chemical elements in the heart of a glass tube; if the thermometer breaks when taking the temperature, the patient is exposed to a high risk of skin lesions. Finally, doctors cannot change the tips of the gallium thermometer and must therefore disinfect it after each patient.

You will have understood it, if it can be used from time to time for all the members of the family, the gallium thermometer is not the excellent professional thermometer. We suggest you go further…

Other medical thermometers 🌡

Today, there are many alternatives to the gallium thermometer. So, if your needs go beyond that and you want discover all the measuring devices, do not hesitate to continue your research on different types of thermometers existing:


  • The mechanical thermometer
  • Bubble/Galileo Thermometer
  • The multifunctional thermometer
  • Thermometer vs anemometer
  • Thermometer vs recorder
  • Thermometer vs hygrometer
  • Thermometer vs ph meter
  • Thermometer vs Thermocouple
  • Thermometer vs Thermostat
  • thermometer with probe



*The contents in italics are under development and will be available soon.