The 11 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras: Reviews and Buying Guide
Be it for crime-solving or building a safe home for people to live in, new gadgets with exotic features always make everyone's life much more comfortable.
On that note, inventors around the world come up with ingenious product ideas, and such a product is the thermal imaging camera.
In this guide, you will find the 11 best thermal imaging cameras.
As an architect, detective, or a mechanic, you must have hoped for a product that could scan right through the walls. There is good news for you because this handy camera will allow you to make your wildest dreams as a professional come true.
What is a Thermal Imaging Camera and How it Works?
A thermal imaging camera is a unique device that produces image unseen to naked eyes. It can detect abnormalities inside any solid object by using infrared rays and hot and cold signals. In simple terms, it uses temperature parameters to develop an obscure image.
The image may not be like the highly pixelated color cameras that we use.However, the images produced have vibrant shades to them that indicate the temperature state of the object being captured.
This whole process reads both analog and digital signals to capture the thermal condition of the object and convert it into electrical signals for producing a vivid image.
Aside from the complicated process of actually creating the image, the manual work is quite easy. The picture is taken as an ordinary camera while the circuits do the complicated work.
There are two types of thermal imaging camera, uncooled and cryogenically cooled. As the name suggests, the latter camera is more sophisticated and provides better imaging, whereas the uncooled camera gets the work done cost-effectively.
And the main difference between the two types of camera is that the uncooled camera works under average room temperature, and the cryogenically devised camera has special chemicals that keep the temperature inside the camera below 0 degrees.
The 11 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras
A camera itself is a sophisticated device that can capture beautiful moments. Taking that theory into mind, several thermal imaging products in the market can help you as an architect, detective, or a mechanic.
You can even use such a device in forensic lab work. However, for an accurate reading, you need the best thermal camera.
1. F1LIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera
Before thermal cameras, there were methods that helped to detect temperature oddness in buildings and structures. However, if the fast process and imaging are what you are looking for, then be sure to check out the FLIR product which combines their popular thermal cameras with high-quality thermometers.
The product itself is compact and can be held like holding a gun. Just like a gun, this camera also has a trigger that activates the imager for action and captures the thermal state of the object pointed at. The front part has a 2-inch LCD viewer which supports color. As a result, the difference in temperature is visible on the screen.
Moreover, the backside of the camera has high powered lenses that use infrared rays to capture the object in hand. There are also navigation buttons below the viewer, which allows the user to view the image more precisely.
It uses class 2 laser to develop the image, and those images can be saved in the mini SD card inserted in the camera. The user can also conveniently transfer the images using a USB cable, and the process is also relatively quick.
Furthermore, the device works with lithium-ion batteries that are provided with purchase and can run for a considerable amount of time. It can detect temperature from -13 degree Fahrenheit to 716 degrees Fahrenheit. FLIR’s own lepton IR imaging system allows the user to capture images with 4800 IR picture resolution.
With this model, you can practically avoid guesswork and figure out the temperature difference with the 24:1 spot size ratio. With 150mk sensitivity range, any person can use this device.
- Extremely durable
- Lepton IR imaging
- Added SD card solution and USB facilities
- High-temperature range
- Precise imaging
- Compact and easy to use
- 8 GB storage
- Needs continuous maintenance
- Has to be stored in a specific temperature from 22 to 131 degree Fahrenheit.
2. FLIR C2 - COMPACT THERMAL CAMERA
Conscious about the security of your home, or do you want to set up precautionary measures on less palpable parts of the building? Then, invest in a thermal camera, precisely with features the FLIR C2 can provide and you’ll be surprised how useful and efficient the device is.
With the outer exterior of an actual mini camera, this is undoubtedly one of the best thermal imaging cameras the brand has to offer. With its classic lepton IR imaging, backed up with high definition LCD, this device truly enhances the overall experience.
The display is 3 inches, and it has a touch screen, just like modern smartphones. This helps the image navigating process.It produces the images at 9hz frequency, and it does not need to focus on the object. A simple process of clicking the picture will kick start the development process.
It takes pictures in a various mode such as thermal, picture in picture, MSX, and visual. So, the user can inspect the problem through multiple image types. The lens has a wide 45-degree fold view system which captures the picture frame by frame and monitors the slightest temperature difference.
This particular model is equipped with MSX enhancement system, which drastically improves the image condition by recognizing the visible light features. The developed pictures are radiometric and have a 4800-pixel resolution.
Therefore, with such definition and MSX enhancement, the user can practically create a full image instead of seeing blurred lines.
Additionally, this device works on the electrical power supply and also has a USB cable that can be used to attach the camera to other devices. The standard temperature at which it operates is from 14 to 122 degree Fahrenheit.
Furthermore, it can easily detect water leakage on the roof or circuit heat-ups, and with the professional software report, the user can quickly analyze the data.
- MSX enhancement
- High accuracy
- Compact like an actual camera
- Radiometric images
- 45-degree wide fold
- LED spotlight
- Touch screen viewer
- Might show vertical lines after a certain period
3. Seek Thermal CompactPRO
Ever wondered what more your smartphone could do? Besides ordering food and clothes, did you wish your phone to detect faulty water lines and leaky roofs? Well, with seeking thermal compact pro, you can easily do all of that and more.
Perhaps one of the most accessible thermal imaging cameras to get, this compact device only needs a smartphone to activate. It is an accessory that can be plugged in with your phone to turn it into a different kind of camera.
With this new model, the user can take a picture of the desired spot using the infrared rays and detect the temperature difference.
As a person with no use of a thermal camera, you can still purchase this product to help you configure where the broken lines are and if the circuit board is working correctly.
There is no need to get a high functioning thermal camera as this product can quickly produce thermal images with the help of a 320 X 240 thermal sensor. This device has a 20-degree field of view which will allow the user to get a wide shot, but the object needs to be isolated for better focus.
Moreover, this device is perfect for homeowners or any person who would be keen on detecting immediate threats. This product offers a range of 1800 feet. So, if a body with oddly higher or lower temperature is present, the device will capture it and display on the smartphone.
Designed to work on low mode, this model will not kill your phone battery. It can be used during the day or night as it registers temperature from -40 degree to 626 Fahrenheit. There is a waterproof case with the camera to make it even more durable. It has 9 color palettes, and 4 emissivity presets to produce a vivid image.
- Extremely compact
- Wide distance range
- Registers high and low temperature
- Versatile product
- Waterproof casing
- Vivid image capacity
- Not enough fold range
4. Seek Thermal Reveal – Ruggedized, All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera
We understand that owning a home can be very tedious as it needs a lot of maintenance, and often you might face problems that were not at all visible to the naked eye. That is why regular inspection of the interiors of a building is essential.
Perhaps one of the best thermal imagers is the Seek Ruggedized model that will allow you to detect such problems early on. This model fits on the hand like a cell phone, making it very compact. Even though the size is small, the display on this is quite fascinating.
It can show the captured image in a wide enough screen for the user to understand the image. The availability of 7 color palettes also helps to develop and form an accurate image of the object captured.
Another cool feature about this product is it has a 300 lumen LED flash mode which allows the user to see the object with naked eyes first if they are in the dark. As a result, they won’t have to aim at random things before getting the perfect shot.
The Ruggedized camera is designed to be an all-purpose for every kind of home. So, wooden walls or concrete walls will not affect the outcome. It will still be able to draw an accurate conclusion using the 206 X 156 thermal sensor.
And it has a 36-degree view which can capture a wide area and also clicks images at more than 9 Hz frequency per frame. The temperature at which this detects any error is from -40 to 626 degree Fahrenheit.
Moreover, the body is rubberized, which makes it very strong and durable; however, the sensor may be damaged if proper care is not given. This model has a rechargeable battery, and once charged, it can work for 10 hours at a stretch.
- 300 lumens LED light
- Wide field view
- High range thermal sensor
- Greater than 9 Hz per frame system
- Longer battery life
- 7 distinct color palette
- Not suitable for heavy work
5. 220 x 160 IR Resolution Infrared Thermal Imager
A thermal imaging camera is crucial in the forensic or detective field. In such a profession, DIY purpose thermal imagers will not work. You will need one of the best thermal imaging cameras.That quality and assurance can be gained from this exact model of camera.
Like some of the other devices mentioned on this list, this model is also handheld and works like a gun. But it does not have any trigger.Instead, it has buttons for navigation, and you will have to click on the image.
The display is covered on all side by the body of the device which will protect the screen during accidents.
With this camera, you can obtain images in 5 different color palettes for more accurate inspection. Not only can you see the thermal difference, but you also get to see a negative print of the object. It weighs only 13.3 ounces and will not add more weight to the professional's utility bag.
Furthermore, it has a 3.2-inch full spectrum display where an image captured with 220 X 160 IR sensitivity is shown. The thermal camera projects infrared rays at a specific temperature to detect the difference in the atmosphere.
Images in 30 million pixel resolution can depict the exact position where the problem is happening, and the user can fix the problem immediately.
For the professionals, this model also has the facility to use a 3 GB storage card and USB cables. So every image captured can be backed up for safekeeping.
- Strong body
- Features for comfortable navigation
- 3.2-inch display
- High-resolution image capability
- 3 GB storage unit
- 5 different color palette
- Requires a learning curve
6. Perfect Prime IR0018 Infrared Thermal Imager
For any camera, along with the intricate circuit board inside and the fascinating mechanism, the lenses are also very important. If the lens gets scratched, the images are almost useless. Surely, no one wants a ruined image with a perfectly good camera. That is whyPerfectPrime can help you solve the problem.
The model is one of the best budget thermal imaging cameras, as it offers superior protection along with quality image production. With one product, the user can get 5 different thermal image mode, including black on white and white on black mode.
Also, the camera can set desired overlays on any image for better inspection.The overlays are image adjusting features which increase the accuracy rate by 2%. Moreover, PerfectPrime is well worth the budget as it takes measures to keep the lens protected with the help of a lens cover.
Furthermore, the cover is flip mode and attached to the body of the device. Whenever work is done, the cover can be flipped back, and it will protect the lens from minute dust particles.
It has a 220 X 160 thermal imaging capacity that produces pictures in high resolution. The 3.2 inch TFT display works on a specific temperature of -4 to 572 degree Fahrenheit. This means the camera can register a wide range of temperature spectrum, allowing it to detect faulty walls and circuits with ease.
Professionals, as well as beginners, can use this product, and using the device is fairly easy. Maintenance is required, but the ergonomic handle makes the work simple. It also weighs less and is equipped with a lithium battery.
- SD card available for storing up to 3 GB
- Protective flap for the lens
- Ergonomic handle
- A wide temperature register range
- 5 color palette and different layouts
- Produces noise during usage
7. FLIR E8: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera
The internet runs the current age, and most up to date products are compatible with Wi-Fi. It makes work much easier, and transferring data from one place to another becomes a piece of cake. That is why FLIR E8 is also optimized with Wi-Fi to ease the analyzing work.
Like other devices from this brand, the picture is captured by pulling the trigger using the thumb. This makes the process user-friendly and does not require any learning curve. The handle is also comfortable to hold with grips for a secure hold. Below the display, there are intuitive buttons for easy navigation through the picture.
It takes images in 320 X 240 thermal mode allowing sharp outcomes. The 3 inch LCD graciously uploads the picture in 76800 IR pixels. With such a level of resolution, the user can easily eliminate the guesswork as the defective area will be visible on the screen.
Also, the range at which it detects the thermal difference is 4 to 482 degree Fahrenheit. Any leaks from the water inside the wall or early circuit failure can be detected with a single click. There are also different overlay options which can enhance the picture quality, although the MSX system takes care of it beforehand.
This device works with a lithium-ion battery, and it is rechargeable. Each battery is 3.6 V. The radiometric images contain all the data in jpeg format even after it is transferred to other devices using Wi-Fi. As a result, anyone can use this device for any thermal imaging purpose.
- Compact in size
- Easy to use
- 76800 IR resolution
- LCD monitor
- Easy navigation button
- MSX enhancement
- Mid-range software integration
8. FLIR E4: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera
As a concerned homeowner, all you can want is a simple thermal imaging device that does not cost much but will get your job done. Those two qualities are rare combinations but not unheard of. After several impressive models that FLIR dished out, they also manufactured a budget-friendly, user-friendly model, namely the E4.
This is a simple device that has a monitor which displays the infrared images and a handle for the user to get a comfortable grip. The whole monitor space has a pentagon shape which houses the display along with a navigation button board. It also has a play button to run the series of images clicked in sequential order.
The FLIR E4 has an 80 X 60 resolution capacity which is less compared to other models mentioned in the list, but it still gets the images processed properly.A calculated decision can be made from the obtained image. This range is adequate for detecting errors inside the wall, a sudden spike in electricity or a faulty water pipe.
It can detect both cold and hot spots. With a minimum capacity, this device can still uphold 4800 pixels image easily on the 3-inch display placed at the front of the product. It also has MSX enhancement options like its former devices and different overlay options to choose from.
All these feature work in cohesion to improve image clarity. Thus, the E4 altogether provides a picture that is used to deduce required information about the object.
Additionally, the one-button power system allows the user not to take the hassle of achieving perfect focus. It can still procure a clear image. The E4 uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which can run for 4 hours.
- Does not need an extensive manual
- 4800 pixels resolution
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
- Small and portable
- Different overlays available
- Not suitable for professional use
9. FLIR ONE Pro Thermal Imaging Camera for iOS
The iOS devices are famous for their versatility and sophistication. Its reach is almost everywhere, and with various software upgrades, an iOS device can do a lot.
However, if you think you are being deprived of using a thermal phone because you own an iPhone, then you'll be surprised to know that FLIR ONE Pro can turn your iPhone into a thermal camera.
Like the previous thermal accessory that made our list, this product also functions in similar ways but has different software to optimize with iOS devices. It also looks different and has a rectangular body. Moreover, it is extremely sleek and has a soft matte feel to it on the exterior.
And the only part that protrudes from the product is the jack that is used to attach the device to the phone or tab.It takes pictures in 160 X 120 resolution and displays the image in vividIR mode on the phone screen. As the iOS device already has a brilliant display, the captured image looks vibrant and clear.
To access the image from the ONE pro to the iOS device, the user will have to download an app. That app is the software that will connect the two devices.
This product also supports MSX enhancement and detects problems such as a damp ceiling or unconventional heat rise from -4 to 752 degree Fahrenheit. Such a range is enough for detecting house renovation related problems.
Furthermore, the ONE pro works with the phone battery but will not drain the phone completely. At a stretch, the product can work for an hour. Proper intervals should be used before using again.
- Can be used with any iOS devices
- User-friendly application
- 160 X 120 thermal sensor
- Easy charging option
- Can detect a wide range of temperature
- Convenient to carry
- Sleek design
- Extremely pricey
10. FLIR K2 Thermal Imaging Camera
A very crucial situation where a camera with such qualities can be useful is a chaotic region or a war zone. Knowing where the enemies are headed or staying can drastically improve the battle strategy. However, a super-strong thermal camera will be needed for such places, and FLIR has just the product for you.
The K2 is a heavy-duty camera that looks like a torch but is of a much bigger. However, the size is not an issue when it comes to carrying because the product is made ergonomically and can be carried with convenience, even in the face of chaos. The backlit screen is of 3 inches, which can form the image in its entirety.
Moreover, the 160 X 120 IR resolution works hand in hand with the display to develop the crisp image. Even the outline of the object can be visible with this model.
This particular model is made of IP67 rated water-resistant material, which makes the product extremely strong and weatherproof. Accidental dropping will not harm the sensor. This is why firefighters can also use the FLIR K2 camera.
To sustain in a chaotic situation, the manufacturer knew that the device had to detect a wide range of temperature. Hence, it can detect thermal oddness from -4 degree to 932 degrees Fahrenheit. This range is impressive for fieldwork and will enhance the analyzing process. For image enhancement, the K2 also has MSX system.
- Extremely durable
- Suitable for rigorous work
- Can be carried easily
- MSX equipped
- -4 to 932 degree Fahrenheit radar
- 47 X 35 degrees view
- Only advised for professional use
11. Perfect Prime IR0001 Infrared (IR) Thermal Imager
This model is perfect for use in homes for renovation purposes or in a construction site. As it provides adequate protection, you will not have to worry about damaging the product.
Like the standard handheld thermal camera, this model is also equipped with a handle, monitor, and button board. The outer exterior is in a shade of bright yellow. This is done so that the product is easily visible in a construction site. It also comes in another vibrant color as well.
The display on this model is 2.4 inches, which support high definition images. And the lens itself can capture pictures in 1024 pixels with a 32 X 32 red image resolution system. It also supports an SD card which can store all the images clicked with the camera.
Moreover, it can detect temperature from 15-degree to 300-degree Celsius, making it suitable for use in a construction area. For better result, it is advised that the camera be aimed at the object from a distance of 1.6 to 16 inches.
Also, the product comes with a protection belt which can be used to carry the product on the shoulder. Alkaline batteries of 1.6 volts must be used for powering the camera.
- Suitable for construction sites
- Anti-drop belt
- Eye-catching exterior
- 2.4 inches high-definition screen
- Cannot be used for detecting high temperature
Things to Know Before Choosing a Thermal Camera
A camera that deals with infrared rays and temperature differences are very sensitive and technical. Without the proper knowledge, the person can easily lose track of what to buy. However, the best thermal imaging camera in the market has some qualities the user should know about.
The monitor of this kind of camera is the most important. If the screen is wide and clear, the captured image becomes more vivid. The display quality will also let the picture be more vibrant. Most thermal cameras have a display of 3 inches or more. Some brands manufacture LCDs for better imaging.
Depending on the need of the user, they can choose LCDs or regular displays. If the work is professional, then the LCD monitor will be more useful.
- Camera Body
The thermal imaging devices come in all shapes and sizes. And the most common portable thermal imaging looks like a gun and also has triggers like a gun. These are easy to use as they have navigation buttons on it. There are also some cameras that have a wider display.
If the user wants an accessory thermal camera, then they can look for mini thermal imagers which transform the smartphone into a temperature sensor. The body is made of strong material that can contain the sensitive circuit. These cameras need to be maintained for optimum performance.
- Image Enhancement
There are various color palette options and overlay systems that enhance the image even after the high-quality lens has done its work. There are up to 7 palettes of color to choose from, which even include a negative mode along with the black and white mode. According to the work requirements, the user should purchase the device.
Some device also offers MSX enhancement, which increases the clarity of the image to the point where you can see the entirety of the object. Professionals usually need such clarity.
This is the factor which decides how far and how much focus needs to be used while clicking the image. Most of the models are compatible with more than 220 X 340 thermal sensors and can easily take the image without the need to focus.
However, if the object is isolated from the background, then the lens can capture an image with more clarity. This will help in better analysis of the situation and will help the user to decide faster.
The best thermal imaging camera for home inspection always has a high resolution. This depends on the picture taken per frame, and the faster the frame counts, the better the resolution. Resolution can be identified with pixels, and it will be stated in the manual. Higher pixel number will indicate better resolution.
- Temperature Limit
A good imager will be able to detect temperature between a wide range. Commonly, these imagers can detect temperature abnormalities above zero. Some devices can detect below the standard temperature too. In short, the wider the range, the better will be the outcome.
These cameras can be both rechargeable or battery oriented. If the camera is battery operated, it will be a lithium-ion battery.
The voltage on such devices is 3 volts. Some cameras also have a storage facility and USB cables. If the user wants to connect the imager without any cable, they can also purchase Wi-Fi compatible camera.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we have some of the most commonly asked queries regarding thermal imaging cameras:
What is the difference between an infrared camera and a thermal camera?
Thermal cameras use radiation frequency emitted from a place of the infrared region while an infrared camera uses light frequency to form an image.
Do thermal cameras use infrared?
Thermal cameras use infrared rays to develop the image by turning the analog signal into digital units.
What temperature range can these cameras detect?
The cameras can detect temperature below 0-degrees to 500 or 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
What can a thermal imaging camera see-through?
Thermal imaging cameras have lenses that enhance the view and make the camera focus on the object instead of blocking.
Does thermal imaging work in daylight?
Yes, thermal imaging cameras work in daylight.
The importance of a thermal camera cannot be understood before you get one for yourself. It eliminates the guesswork during renovation and even on a battlefield.
But, purchasing such a product can be daunting, which is why you can gather information from our list of 11 best thermal imaging cameras.Make a pick, and you will not regret it.