How Do Temperature Probes Work?

Any industry that relies on accurate temperature measurement will benefit from investing in temperature probes. These instruments are essential for taking precise measurements and maintaining occupational health and safety standards.

What is a temperature probe?

A temperature probe is an electronic device that measures an object or environment’s temperature. They have multiple applications, measuring internal and external surface temperatures of items such as food and machinery.

Temperature probes have many benefits across industries. For example, in the food and beverage industry, they can ensure businesses store foodstuffs at an appropriate temperature for optimum freshness. 

What are temperature probes made from and how do they work?

There are three main kinds of temperature probes used today, each with unique working principles:

  • Thermocouples
  • Resistance temperature detectors (RTDs)
  • Thermistors

Thermocouples are the most popular temperature probe type. They have consumer, automotive, and industrial applications and can work over a wide temperature range. These probes work by measuring the voltage difference between two conductors and calculating the temperature accordingly.

RTDs work on the principle that a metal’s resistance changes as temperature changes. The tools detect this difference in resistance and convert it to a temperature reading. These probe types cover an extremely wide temperature range, although they may need replacing more often than other varieties.

Thermistors also detect changes in resistance, although they are less accurate than RTDs. They’re typically ceramic or polymer-based and are a cheaper option thanks to their smaller temperature range.

Applications of temperature probes

At RS Components they know regardless of your industry, it’s likely you’ll find a use for temperature probes. Here are some of the most common applications.

  1. Medicine

In the medical industry, temperature probes have a range of uses, from monitoring a patient’s temperature to running fluidic management systems.

For example, clinicians can use disposable, general-purpose probes to accurately measure a patient’s core body temperature. Other options include skin temperature probes, which measure the temperature of the skin’s surface.

  1. Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Surface-mounted RTD temperature probes are common within the HVAC industry to measure the temperature of surface solids, liquid media, and gaseous substances. They’re essential in controlling room conditions and the temperature within pipes and ducts.

  1. Food safety

Workplaces within the food and beverage industry use temperature probes to ensure food remains at a safe temperature. They offer incredibly high accuracy and fast response times, making them an ideal choice in restaurants and on processing lines.

  1. Machinery and manufacturing

Temperature probes also play a critical role in the machinery and manufacturing industries. Metals like iron, steel, and aluminium are highly sensitive to temperature changes, so it’s essential to have an accurate measurement device on hand.

  1. Automotive

Within the automotive industry, thermistors offer a low-cost solution for measuring oil and coolant temperature. Many automotive manufacturers use them as part of a warning system to alert drivers about temperature problems and prevent engine damage.


To sum up, temperature probes work by measuring voltage or resistance changes and converting them to a temperature reading. Across industries like food and beverage, manufacturing, and medicine, they help keep workplaces—and customers—safe.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button