Best Thermal Imagers

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 9, 2018
When laser thermometers are just not enough and you need to actually see the source of the thermal problem with your own eyes there is no better solution than a thermal imager. Versatile and highly effective, it can be used basically in every field that takes temperature levels into concern. There are a lot of options available so that's why we've selected the top 5 popular models to help you make up your mind. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Spectral Range
IR Sensor
Object Temperature Range
Field of View (H x V)
Accuracy
Power Source
Extras
Acessories
Warranty
 
PROS

A built-in Wi-Fi module allows sending the IR images to the tablets and smartphones for a closer look on a bigger screen.

CONS

Somewhat small temperature range.

OUR VERDICT

FLIR C3 is a revolutionary IR camera with a compact body that combines a 3" touchscreen and MSX™ Image Enhancement technology that helps to take high-resolution videos and photos.

detailed parameters
Spectral Range

7.5 - 14.0 µm

IR Sensor

80 x 60

Object Temperature Range

14°F to 302°F

Field of View (H x V)

41° x 31°

Accuracy

±3.6°F or ±2%, whichever is greater (at 77°F nominal)

Power Source

Rechargeable battery (up to 2 hours)

Extras

3" touch screen, MSX™ Image Enhancement technology, Built-in Wi-Fi, 4 color palettes (Iron, Rainbow, Rainbow HC, Gray)

Acessories

Lanyard, Pouch, Power Supply/charger, Tripod mount, USB cable

Warranty

1 year

PROS

A built-in rechargeable, high-capacity battery offers 8 hours of continuous operation from one single charge. The charging process only takes 1.5–2 hours.

CONS

Some customers find the Smart View software UI inconvenient.

OUR VERDICT

If you are searching for a truly professional tool suitable for building and renovation tasks,  look no further - the Fluke VT04 with PyroBlend® Plus optics and a 120 x 120 IR sensor makes the temperature detection as easy as it can be.

detailed parameters
Spectral Range

6.5 - 14 µm

IR Sensor

120 x 120

Object Temperature Range

14°F to 482°F

Field of View (H x V)

28° x 28°

Accuracy

±3.6°F or ±2%, whichever is greater (at 77°F nominal)

Power Source

Rechargeable battery (up to 8 hours)

Extras

2.2" screen, PyroBlend™ Plus optics, 6 color palettes (Ironbow VT, Hot Metal, Gray-scale Inverted, Gray-scale, High Contrast VT, Rainbow)

Acessories

Lanyard, case, 4GB Micro-SD card with SD adapter, Rechargeable battery with USB charging cable and AC adapter

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The FOV of the camera is 50° x 38.6°, which means that you can capture more in one go than with a regular IR imager; this makes the measurement process an easy task.

CONS

The device is not supplied with a carry bag (available separately).

OUR VERDICT

The FLIR TG165 with an enhanced temperature detection range (from minus 13°F to 716°F) is perfect for car manufacturing and metallurgy where it is vital to measure the temperature of metals.

detailed parameters
Spectral Range

8 - 14 µm

IR Sensor

80 x 60

Object Temperature Range

-13°F to 716°F

Field of View (H x V)

50° x 38.6°

Accuracy

±2.7°F or ±1.5%, whichever is greater (at 77°F nominal)

Power Source

Rechargeable battery (up to 5 hours)

Extras

2" screen, 3 color palettes (Hot Iron, Rainbow, Gray-scale)

Acessories

Lanyard, 8 GB Micro SD card, Power supply with separate USB cable

Warranty

2 years (10 years for Thermal Imaging Detector - registration required)

PROS

The device saves all of the pictures in a BMP file format, which is supported by all of the modern OS.

CONS

Quite bulky.

OUR VERDICT

An ideal pick for car mechanics since the IR sensor allows working with the heat sources close to the camera. On top of that, the built-in memory in combination with a supplied 4GB MicroSD card makes it possible to store up to 7000 pictures.

detailed parameters
Spectral Range

~7 - 14.0 µm

IR Sensor

60 x 60

Object Temperature Range

-4°F to 572°F

Field of View (H x V)

20° x 20°

Accuracy

±3.6°F or ±2%, whichever is greater (at 77°F nominal)

Power Source

4 x AA batteries (depends on battery quality)

Extras

2.4" screen, 4 color palettes (High Contrast, Iron Red, Rainbow, Gray-scale)

Acessories

Lanyard, case, 4GB Micro-SD card, 4 "AA" batteries

Warranty

1 year

PROS

A simple and easy to manage user interface of the device makes it accessible virtually for everyone.

CONS

The IR sensor resolution leaves something to be desired.

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for an entry-level IR imager, this model from Perfect Prime is one of the best options available on the market today. With a high-contrast 2.4" display on board, you will be able to detect the heat or cold leaks without too much effort.

detailed parameters
Spectral Range

9 - 14 µm

IR Sensor

32 x 32

Object Temperature Range

-4°F to 572°F

Field of View (H x V)

20° x 20°

Accuracy

±3.6°F or ±2%, whichever is greater (at 77°F nominal)

Power Source

4 x AA batteries (depends on battery quality)

Extras

2.4" screen, 4 color palettes (Rainbow, Iron oxide red, Rainbow HC, Gray-scale)

Acessories

Lanyard, case, 4 Gb Micro-SD card, 4 "AA" batteries

Warranty

2 years

FLIR C3

The Choice of Professionals

The FLIR C3 thermal camera has all the features you may need to find both cold and the hot spots at the working site.

The camera itself features an IR sensor with the resolution of 80x60 and the field of view of 41° x 31°; this sensor can take high-quality photos no matter the circumstances. The device can store up to 500 sets of JPEG images with 14-bit measurements, however, it doesn’t have a MicroSD slot. Thus, you will have to transfer all the data either by using the USB Micro-B or Wi-Fi connectivity.

This handheld thermal imager features a tripod mount for additional stability when taking pictures. By using the tripod you will get high-quality pictures without blur, which can be crucial, especially when you take a thermal photo from the distance.

With the object temperature range of 14°F to 302°F, the deviation of the sensor does not go over ±3.6° (±2%) and that is quite impressive as for a commercially available FLIR model.

Be professional and work smart: with FLIR C3 that has a 3" touch screen and an MSX Image Enhancement technology, you can take and analyze the pictures in a matter of seconds. In case you can’t see any issues in a regular camera mode you can always switch the color palette from a standard mode to 4 different spectrums. With all spectrums that C3 has (iron, rainbow, rainbow HC, or grayscale) you will be able to find the problem spots in no time.

Review of FLIR C3 Pocket Thermal Camera with WiFi

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Fluke VT04

A Versatile Detector

Unlike most of the regular infrared imager models, the Fluke VT04 comes equipped with a micro-SD slot, and it includes a 4GB memory card. Although the device has a spectral range of 6.5-14 µm, it is achieved at a cost of a much smaller field of view (only 28° x 28°) compared to its counterparts. On the bright side, however, the object temperature range of this model can determine the temperature from 14°F up to 482°F, which can be quite useful in finding the spots that are especially hot.

The Infrared sensor of the imager has a resolution of 120x120 that allows taking HD photos right from the get-go, most of the times even without focusing on the objects. Since the tool has a 2.2", screen sometimes it can be challenging to find the exact spot of the temperature leak. Thankfully, the PyroBlend Plus optics make extra zoom possible to pinpoint the objects of interest.

Moving on, one of the main advantages of the Fluke thermal imagers is the array of color palettes that are used to determine the issues at the working sites. All in all, the VT04 from Fluke is a perfect solution for a variety of different jobs, thanks to the 6 color palettes that include Ironbow VT, Hot Metal, Grayscale Inverted, Grayscale, High Contrast VT, Rainbow. With such a variety of different thermal spectrums, you will be able to find and fix all the temperature issues you’ve been dealing with in the past.

Review of Fluke VT04 Infrared Imager with Soft Carrying Case

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

FLIR TG165

A New Infra-red Camera Generation

When bulky infrared cameras of the past generations of FLIR products are of no use, there is a kind of detectors that is much easier to operate and use. The FLIR TG165 spot thermal camera is one of those products. With two lasers that determine the temperature of the surface, it is capable of doing so twice as accurate as regular models. The device is utilized just like a handheld road speed detector - the two lasers in the front are activated by a single pull of the trigger.

By taking a closer look at the specifications we were surprised to find out that the sensor is able to measure the exact temperatures in the range of -13°F to 716°F, which is more common for military-grade products rather than for the commercial ones. Moreover, the fact that you don’t have to be close to the source of heat or cold in order to determine its temperature makes this IR thermometer a highly compelling choice for everyday use. Even if you are a few feet away from the source this thermal imaging gun will still be capable of spotting the temperature with little to no deviation (±1.5% or ±2.7°F).

Ideal for finding hot and cold spots in close vicinity from the IR sensors, the FLIR TG165 will be a great pick for car mechanics, house renovators, and electricians of all sorts.

Review of FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Pyle PTIMGCM83

Suitable for Pros and Amaterus

Engineered specifically for heavy-duty jobs and extreme environments, the Pyle PTIMGCM83 is able to detect the temperatures from -4°F to 572°F with ease and very little deviation (±2%). This quite wide range allows you to solve all household issues with heating or cooling in order to save funds or fuel during cold months. Additionally, the device can be used for solving the thermal insulation problems such as windows or doors that are letting the hot air out of the room.

As for the camera and the IR sensor specifications, they are quite modest as for such a capable device. The 60x60 resolution IR sensor will enable you to take pictures in BMP file format with ease, while the included 4GB MicroSD card can store up to 7000 such pictures, which is quite impressive for a budget-friendly model. The four different color palette options let you easily detect the problematic spots, albeit in the relatively mediocre field of view.

Some customers may find this IR camera from Pyle quite bulky and it is understandable since it weighs almost 2.3 lbs. Despite this, once you get used to the handle grip of the tool, it becomes quite easy to operate.

In conclusion, the IR camera from Pyle will be a great pick for builders and DIY renovators alike, since it combines great features with the medium range price tag.

Review of Pyle PTIMGCM83 Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Perfect-Prime IR0001

Affordable Solution

The Perfect-Prime IR0001 might not look so special at the first glance, nevertheless, it does have plenty of handy features.

In contrast to the quite modest price of the device, the Infrared Imager works almost perfectly. When compared to other, more pricey models, the IR sensors may deviate a little bit more depending on the drafts of the environment. However, the results are quite accurate and the deviation doesn’t go over ±3.6°F (±2%).

Although the manual instructions are somewhat misleading and honestly, they could be written better, the UI of the device is quite intuitive and easy to read, so you might not need the instructions at all.

With the IR sensor resolution of 32 x 32 and the field of view of 20° by 20°, the quality of the images is so-so. Notwithstanding, it is good enough to determine the hot and cold spots in any mechanical, electrical, and thermal system from the distance of 7 inches. Within this range, the device makes the best use of its single IR laser thermometer, which allows seeing the temperature in the range of -4°F to 572°F.

To wrap things up, this thermal imaging device from Perfect-Prime is packed to the rafters with handy features, which makes it a very plausible pick if you are looking for an affordable IR sensor.

Review of Perfect-Prime IR0001 Infrared Thermal Imager

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is a Thermal Imager?

Designed for the purposes of the military forces as well as for professional use at big facilities that require constant temperature control, the Forward-Looking Infrared Imagers are mostly used in harsh environments and are built for heavy duty. Although there are many different models of thermal imagers that are used basically everywhere in government and defense (aircraft, boats, ships, cars, and armored vehicles), some of them are commercially available on the market today.

Some of the bulky, stationary models are equipped with special cryogenic coolers that are meant to increase the resolution of the final thermal image. On the other hand, smaller models are un-cooled and are usually operated at room temperature.

A regular handheld IR imager is capable of showing the image by using an infrared sensor or a combination of multiple sensors. The light is focused by utilizing an array of detectors of infrared emission, which allows showing the temperature signature even in pitch-black environments.

If you are looking for other equipment that enables determining the temperature you might be also interested in laser IR thermometers. In case you are looking for more sophisticated night vision devices, we encourage you to take a closer look at our NVG review.

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Publish Date: 2018-08-16 15:06:28