How To: Check CPU Temperatures

This is obviously about Linux and, given that it’s Linux, there are often multiple ways to accomplish things. This is one way to check the CPU temperatures.

This one should be fairly short and straightforward. Once again, crack open your favorite terminal emulator with CTRL + ALT + T.

For this exercise, we’ll be using lm-sensors. Wikipedia helpfully describes it as thus:

lm_sensors (Linux-monitoring sensors) is a free open-source software-tool for Linux that provides tools and drivers for monitoring temperatures, voltage, humidity, and fans. It can also detect chassis intrusions.

It then promptly says that a citation is needed. 

So, let’s check the man page. man lm-sensors has no entry, so you’ll need the slightly less obvious man sensors. In this case, the description is not much greater.

sensors is used to show the current readings of all sensor chips. sensors -s is used to set all limits as specified in the configuration file. sensors –bus-list is used to generate bus statements suitable for the configuration file.

Alright, so let’s get this installed. 

So far so good, but now we need sensors to find the hardware and that’s done with this:

That’s going to run and it’s interactive. You’ll need to type “YES” over and over again and then finally hit the ENTER button. But, once you’re done, it’s all over and you never have to do it again – unless you add/change hardware that has sensors.

Now that it’s installed, you can just run:

If you are easily startled by the metric system, you can just add the -f switch for Fahrenheit, like so:


Congratulations! You can now easily tell how hot (or cold) your CPU is running. You should also look up your CPU’s temperature thresholds. This way you’ll be able to tell if your CPU is running hotter than it should be running. Doing this can save your hardware or give it greater longevity.

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