Thermal cameras have been around for centuries. The technology was first developed and used for military purposes but has since been adopted by several industries. These cameras are majorly used today to identify problems and issues by detecting the heat which is at their source. There are many that see thermal imaging cameras as easy-to-use and cost-effective troubleshooting tools for building, electrical, and mechanical applications.
There are so many thermal imaging cameras in the market that choosing from them can give you selection headache. To help you choose the best of the lot, this post will review the best products that are currently available on the market. Whatever your specific need is, you will find the right thermal imaging camera here.
Top 10 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras
1. FLIR C2
This is consistently ranked as one of the best thermal imaging cameras for so many reasons. It is a full-featured thermal camera that can fit right into the pocket. Designed for building industry experts and contractors, this can be incredibly helpful when you need to find hidden heat pattern that signal energy waste, structural defects, plumbing issues, and several other problems. It also comes with the FLIR Tools professional reporting software that analyze the 4,800 individual thermal measurements you can get from the C2 JPEG images.
Some of the most interesting things about the FLIR C2 include MSX real time image enhancement, high sensitivity, a wide field of view, and fully radiometric imagery. It is always able to detect all sorts of problems and can conveniently verify the completion of repairs. Asides from the building industry, it can be used in other tasks that require capturing temperature differences and thermal patterns. The package comes with battery, lanyard, power supply/charger, Getting Started Guide, and USB cable.
This is another Thermal Imager that is used as a dependable diagnostic tool by building professionals. It is most helpful for building inspectors that need to check home insulation, heating, water leakages behind walls, hot and cold pipes, and other such issues. It is also a pocket-size device, making it a very convenient tool that can capture 220 x 160 images of 35,200 pixels with a 3.2″ Full angle display screen. It is very accurate thermal camera with +/-2.5% or +/-2.50F included emissivity and reflected temperature value to deliver accurate reading irrespective of your application.
The Perfect Prime IR0005 has an ergonomic and comfortable design. It also comes with a 3GB SD Card that makes storage and file transfer a lot easier. It is well made for professional and home use: it is already widely used in firefighting, crime, medicine, electrical, engineering, and more. The manufacturers offer 24 months extended warranty and you can return the product within 60 days if you don’t like it and get your money back.
3. FLIR TG165
This thermal camera is great for so many reasons. For a start, it has a very rugged and reliable design. It is also compact and durable; it can conveniently fit into a crowded tool bag and survive a 2 meter drop. In terms of efficiency, there are few thermal cameras you can actually compare with this. It takes away the guesswork from diagnosis and troubleshooting. The FLIR’s exclusive Lepton micro thermal sensor lets you see what’s hot in an instant so you know where to aim. You will also capture images and data instantly by pulling the trigger.
The FLIR TG165 Spot thermal Camera is a very versatile device: it is applicable in electrical works, HVAC, building, and automotive. It also comes with an 8GB micro SD card to let you save images and data easily. It comes with a 2 year Product and 10 year Infrared Detector warranty.
Another wonderfully built and reliable handheld thermal camera, this is perfect for professional and home use. Its highly sensitive and accurate thermal sensor help you find heat spots easily and measure for diagnosis and troubleshooting, while also taking images for reporting. It is perfect for different applications including surface temperature measurement, night vision, hunting, moisture detection, hardware troubleshooting, electrical equipment diagnosis, and heat leakage detection. The versatile device is widely used in homes, firefighting, manufacturing, engineering, medical, and more.
The IR0019 has several impressive features. It has an IR Image resolution of 320 x 240, 76,800 pixels on 3.2″ Full angle HD Display screen. It also guarantees accurate reading no matter your application. There is also an integrated 4GB SD Card to store images and data and transfer them easily via the included USB cable. It also comes with an extended 24 months standard warranty with additional 12 months after product registration.
The Fluke VT04 combines the benefits of a spot thermometer and an infrared camera in a simple pocket-size tool. The convenience of having a visible light image blended with Fluke’s exclusive thermal heat map makes diagnosis and troubleshooting a lot easier. Without taking your eyes off the screen, you will be able to capture accurate temperature readings: the center measurement box helps you know the exact area of measurement. There are automated monitoring features and temperature alarms to help you with troubleshooting. Hot and cold markers are also available to help you identify hottest and coldest spots within the field of view. The intuitive interface means you need no training to learn to use the device.
The Fluke VT04 is an impressive thermal camera for so many reasons. Its field of vision is great for tight places; it can store as much as 10,000 images per GB on included SD card; and SmartView reporting software help you make more sense from the images and data. It can be used in building repair/maintenance, HVAC, mechanical repair/maintenance, electrical repair/maintenance and more.
6. FLIR E8
This is a very powerful compact thermal camera that you can trust as the ultimate inspection tool. It is most suited for professional use as a troubleshooting tool. A truly versatile imager, the FLIR E8 infrared camera is perfect for building, electrical, and mechanical applications. It offers users four resolution options to fit the target size and working distance, delivering the details users want at all times.
The E8 is among the several FLIR thermal cameras that features Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX). This blends digital camera details onto thermal images in real time, producing exceptional thermal clarity that makes troubleshooting easier. It also facilitate instant target identification without compromising radiometric data. In addition to the MSX feature, this thermal imager offers crisp resolution of 320 x 240 (76,800 IR pixels). It also has an intuitive interface and ergonomic design. If you can afford this, it is a perfect thermal camera.
7. Seek UW-AAA
This is an android-specific imager that plugs directly into a smartphone. As you can tell, it is a very compact and portable thermal camera. It is also very affordable. In spite of its size and the fact that it works with a smartphone, the Seek UW-AAA Thermal Imager for android is a versatile and durable device. Its functionality cannot be questioned too. It employs 36 degree field of view that makes it work in indoor and outdoor environments seamlessly. It can detect thermal energy up to 1000 feet away. It also has a detectable temperature range of -40 to 626 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Seek thermal imager for Android can effectively spot missing insulation and identify overheated circuitry with ease. It is perfect for contractors, DIY enthusiasts, structural auditors, home inspectors and other professionals. The thermal camera is compatible with a wide range of android smartphones. There is a similar version that works with iOS devices exclusively. It comes with a waterproof carrying case and is very affordable.
8. Seek RW-AAA
This is a compact device that ensures that you see thermal images at all times in different light conditions. It is an all-in-one solution that combines a 206 x 156 sensor for powerful insight, a large color display, and rechargeable battery for several hours of application. The device can measure temperature differences from -40 degrees Celsius to 626 degrees Fahrenheit. Its intuitive controls make for easy and one-handed operation. There is also an included SD card for you to save thermal images directly and transfer easily when there is need for that.
The Seek Reveal works perfectly when used for different diagnostic and troubleshooting purposes. The thermal sensor is very accurate and the 300 LED light help to make sure that you have clear vision around you irrespective of the environment you are working at. It is applicable in engineering, HVAC, mechanical, building, and electrical diagnosis. Professionals and DIY enthusiasts will find it incredibly helpful.
9. Fluke TI100
This rugged infrared camera is one of the top-end products on this list. It is a highly effective professional-grade thermal imager that will catch small details that could indicate a bigger issues. It is lightweight and has a large LCD Display (3.5″) to make handheld use easy and comfortable. It offers 160 x 120 resolutions (19,200 pixels). It is also perfect for collaboration, thanks to the Fluke connect app (works with iOS and android) that let you share data with remote team members through smart phones while still in the field. It is also ideal for personal use.
The Fluke TI100 9-Hertz General Purpose Thermal Imager help professionals work safer, smarter and faster. Users can view multiple measurements of energized components from about 20 feet away. It is applicable in different fields as it let users view different measurements including thermal, mechanical, electrical, and vibration at the same time.
This is another top quality infrared imager that makes diagnosis and troubleshooting easier for a wide range of users. Made by Lincoln electric, the device has an ergonomic design that makes handling easy. It is also very convenient to use: all you need to do is point in the right direction, pull and detect heat anomalies. You can scan large areas quickly by just pulling the trigger.
The Lincoln Milwaukee 2257-20 produces high resolution 102 x 77 Thermal images and features dual sense technology that eliminates blurring of hot and cold details. It can effectively and accurately measure temperatures from 140 – 6460F. It also offer one Simple On-Screen Temperature Reading and the option of selecting between Celsius and Fahrenheit. The well-built thermal camera comes with 5 year warranty on material and workmanship. It is also very affordable.
As you know already, there are so many thermal imaging cameras out there. What we have here are just the top ten products that are currently available in the market. Picking one, even from these options can be a little difficult unless you know exactly what you want. Here, we will attempt to guide you on how you can make the best decision and buy the thermal camera that will serve you efficiently in whatever you need it for.
Factors to Consider While Choosing a Thermal Imaging Camera
There are some key factors that will determine the usefulness of any product you pick from the market place. For a thermal imaging camera, here are the key factors you must consider before picking one:
Your Specific Need
What you need a thermal imaging camera for should be the major determinant of the product you should pick. Most imagers (including the ones reviewed above) are versatile and can be good for different applications. Some, however, have some advantages over others in certain applications. Be mindful of what and what you need the thermal camera for before considering the features and other important factors.
Build and Design
You need to consider how any product you want to buy is built. You need to consider only thermal cameras that are well built to withstand the sort of environment you are going to use it. You also need to consider the design. It is always better to go for devices that are ergonomically designed for easy handling. It will also be helpful if your thermal camera is easy to use.
Sensitivity indicates how well the thermal imaging camera can detect infrared energy. This is the major determinant of the efficiency of the camera. Some imagers are sensitive to as low as 0.050 C. Devices that are more sensitive are better at detecting variations and can create shaper thermal images.
Basically, the resolution of a thermal imaging camera relates to how many measurements the detector can make. A camera with resolution of 120 x 120 can take 14,400 measurements simultaneously and the different temperatures in the 14,400 pixels are used to make detailed thermal images. Cameras with higher resolution, therefore, can provide more detailed readings and can be used to scan larger areas.
You also need to understand the temperature range a thermal camera can handle accurately. Factor this with the degree of temperature you are likely to measure as well as temperature variation you expect to detect. Some cameras have temperature range of between -50 to >5000F. Ensure that the range is suitable with what you want and the environment you will be working under.
A lot of modern thermal imagers can be linked wirelessly with other tools to make their use easier and more effective. When a link with a moisture meter or clamp meter is achieved, for instance, data can be analyzed easily for better reporting and understanding of problems.
Besides the important factors discussed above, there are loads of other features that can give a thermal imaging camera an edge over others such as alarms, focus, digital camera incorporation, LED flashlight, and connectivity with smart equipment. Ensure the extra features are helpful if you have to pay more for them.
Thermal imaging cameras can be extremely helpful to a lot of people. From professional to private individuals, a lot of people are using the thermal imagers to solve problems on a daily basis. There is a wide range of providers of these devices and even a wider range of different models from them. Finding the right one for yourself can be a daunting task. We have made the task easier by reviewing the top ten thermal imaging cameras available in the market today. Links to get them from a reliable market place has also been presented as well as a guide on how to pick what you need. Consider each product carefully before making your final decision.