The best thermographic cameras
Thermal Imager – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
Those who want to increase the security of spaces or study thermography and the temperature on the surface of objects should consider having an instrument that detects heat and bodies, even when there is no visible light. This is possible with a thermal imaging camera. Among all the alternatives, two appear among the preferences of the users. First of all, we find the Flir C2 model, a device with compact dimensions, which emits improved thermal images and includes simple software through which reports can be made. Another model is the Seek Thermal LW-EAA, a portable and precise camera that can offer images in total darkness, in full light or in poor visibility.
The 7 Best Thermal Cameras – Opinions 2019
Not all cameras are capable of capturing heat or images under low light conditions. So, if you want to improve the accuracy of images in a closed circuit or for other professional purposes, thermal imaging cameras would be good allies. To make a correct purchase decision, options must be analyzed and, to make the choice easier, you can take into account these proposals that are considered the best thermal imaging cameras.
Flir thermal imaging camera
1. Flir C2 Compact Thermal Imaging System
Those looking for the best thermal imaging camera on the market can consider this model as their alternative, since it is usually recognized for its adequate performance. This Flir thermal imager is compact and light in weight, so it can be easily carried in a pocket. To improve lighting, this camera has been equipped with an LED light that can be used as a flashlight.
In addition, the thermal images emitted have an enhanced level of detail, thanks to MSX processing, helping to easily identify problem areas. According to its specifications, the radiometric images store a total of 4,800 pixels and it is an instrument suitable for capturing measurements ranging from -10 degrees to 150 degrees.
The chamber is made of borosilicate glass and includes a battery for its operation, as well as software that allows you to create reports with standards for thermal analysis.
Flir C2 has the attributes to be considered as the best thermal imager of the moment. Know its pros and cons.
Design: It has a compact and lightweight design, with portable properties and black color.
Construction: Its construction is solid and resistant and can be easily held, which improves its use.
Analysis: Includes software that allows analysis and reports for subsequent thermal studies.
MXS: Although it is small, its operation is adequate for close-range work and includes MXS image mode.
Time: Image processing time can be a bit slow and take longer than other models.
2. Flir TG165 Infrared Thermometer
If you want to make your choice among the best thermal imaging cameras of 2019, it would be appropriate for you to consider this alternative that has two laser pointers and high-end properties within your options. The Flir TG165 thermal imaging camera has been designed to provide a wide 50-degree field of view, making it easy to frame an entire wall in just one image and have immediate diagnostics.
It has a simple design of 18.5 x 5.6 x 9.4 cm, which allows it to be held properly with one hand, because its weight does not exceed 400 grams. In addition, the camera is made of resistant materials that tolerate different weather conditions. It can even resist a drop of 2 meters.
Its use is simple for those who are accustomed to handling these instruments and it allows storing everything from images to data for documentation. All of these files can then be downloaded via the USB port or from the included 8GB microSD card.
Flir is a manufacturer with years in the market, so it is not surprising that it is considered the best brand of thermal imaging cameras. Let’s review details of your model.
Weight: This instrument that measures the temperature of the center of the image has a more or less light weight of 400 grams.
Resistance: The camera is made of strong materials and resistant to inhospitable environments and abrupt falls.
Sensitivity: The equipment has a thermal sensitivity of 150 MK, as well as a resolution of 80 pixels by 60 pixels.
Specifications: It is equipped with a highly reliable thermal sensor and option to store data and images.
Adapter: This model does not include the USB charging cable, so it must be purchased separately.
Thermal imaging camera for mobile
3. Seek Thermal Compact Thermal Imaging Camera
With a wide field of view, this model of mobile thermal imaging camera from the manufacturer Seek Thermal has adequate operation and is capable of detecting invisible infrared light, to show a thermal mark on the mobile device.
This portable and robust instrument is equipped with innovative technology, so it can be connected to the mobile to emit more than 32,000 thermal pixels, so it is a camera suitable for use both indoors and outdoors. The compatibility of this device allows it to be connected to the phone and, from the application, it is possible to access settings and solve problems quickly, efficiently and reliably.
It is built with materials suitable for exposure to the elements of nature, since it has a protective hermetic casing and is available in black. Regardless of light conditions or time of day, this model performs accurately.
Before making a decision, it is convenient to know the model in detail. Here are some positive and negative features of this option, which can help you choose which thermal imager to buy.
Temperature: It works by detecting temperatures from -40 to 330 degrees Celsius.
Resistance: It is strong and includes a protective casing with hermetic properties that ensures its durability.
Versatility: It can be used under any conditions, be it absolute darkness, with lighting or poor visibility.
Technology: It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that immediately detects air leaks and diagnoses overloads.
Use: Its use is not easy. Although it includes a manual, the user must have basic knowledge to take advantage of it.
4. Mxzzand Photo Taking Functions
It is a mobile thermal imaging camera that can be used easily by simply connecting the device to your smartphone and opening the corresponding application. In this sense, it is important to highlight its compatibility with Android operating systems from version 6.0, which increases its functionality.
It is important to mention that it connects to the mobile through a USB type C, compatible with a wide variety of modern devices. As for its operation, it can provide a measurement range of -20 to 400 °C of temperature, with a margin of error of only ± 3 °C, making it highly sensitive for greater precision.
Also, it allows you to take pictures or record videos to increase its functionality. As if that were not enough, its structure is made of ABS plastic that can resist corrosion, shock and high temperatures.
It is normal to wonder which is the best thermal imager when comparing the wide variety of models available on the market. For this reason, it is recommended that you learn more about this device.
Resistance: It is made with ABS plastic, which is highly resistant to impacts, wear, corrosion and high temperatures, which provides a longer service life.
Measurement: The measurement range for temperature is from -20 to 400 °C, which increases its functionality. Also, the margin of error is only ±3°C for greater accuracy.
Compatibility: It is compatible with mobile devices with Android 6.0 or higher operating system, which increases its versatility.
Resolution: It has a resolution of only 384 x 288 pixels, so the image quality is a bit low and it does not allow you to clearly see the details in the photo or video.
Fluke Thermal Imager
5. Fluke networks Flk-Ti100 Thermal Imager
The Fluke Flk-Ti100 thermal imager is another option that stands out in the current market. It is true that it is not among the cheap options, nor is it the best value for money thermal imager. But it is an efficient and first-rate proposal for those who need professional tools.
Specifically, the device is capable of measuring temperatures from -20 to 250 degrees in a solvent way. In addition, its differential measurement capacity allows each zone to be displayed correctly, which makes it much easier to detect sensitive areas.
All this data is presented on its large screen, whose definition simplifies decision-making regarding the observed data. All this with an optimized and easy to position focus system, which is always helpful when performing this type of task.
We leave you the most outstanding details of this interesting top-level thermographic tool.
Capacity: The device measures from -20 to 250 degrees of temperature, with an accuracy of just two degrees.
System : Its differential system presents each temperature on screen with good diagnostic clarity.
Screen : The good size screen helps to see everything clearly when working.
Price: It is not one of the cheap proposals on the market, but for quality and efficiency it is worth the investment.
Management : Given its technology, some learning is required to use it efficiently.
Android Thermal Imager
6. Flir One Thermal Camera for USB-C Android Devices
Capable of emitting quality thermographic images, this Flir model is one of the most convenient and easy to use on the market, since with it you can see in total darkness, in order to carry out explorations that detect problems in the house or increase security in the closed circuit.
With this thermal imaging camera for Android you can observe and measure temperatures with different ranges, but with precision and from a reasonable distance. In addition, it supports the use of the free Flir One application, with which it is possible to automate reports and even obtain help and advice in real time, which will help both to get the most out of the equipment and to solve the problem that is occurring.
On the other hand, it includes MSX technology, by means of which it is possible to visualize both the images in the thermal spectrum, as well as the real ones in improved resolution for greater quality in the details.
Before buying, it is advisable to know the details of the model of interest. Therefore, know the pros and cons corresponding to this option.
Design: It has a compact design of 6.7 x 1.4 x 3.4 cm and lightweight properties to which a protective case can be added.
Technology: It has the MSX technology that allows to observe the images in two spectra: the real one and the thermographic one.
App: Installing the app diversifies the use of the team in the automation of reports, receiving advice and help.
Operation: It has a high-end operation in conditions of absolute darkness.
Compatibility: Before buying, it is prudent to check the compatibility, since it does not work with some Samsung, Sony and Xiaomi equipment.
Testo Thermal Imager
7. Testo Thermal Imager 868
If you want to buy a quality model, you could take a look at the properties of the Testo thermal imager, which stands out as one of the best on the market due to its level of performance and resolution, which positions it as a state-of-the-art instrument.
Far from looking like a cheap thermal imager, this model has a classic design with technological innovation features. It has a screen and a long handle for holding. It is available in black and has a button input mechanism.
Its uses and technical specifications are described in the user manual that comes with the camera. Its resolution is 160 by 120 pixels and it is compatible with the Testo Thermog Raphy app, to make the most of its properties. On the other hand, it has automatic detection of cold and heat, comparison of heat by images and automatic detection in the degree of emission, which are functions that further improve its use.
Testo 868 is an appropriate model for professional thermographic measurements. Here are its pros and cons.
Design: It has a practical design, with a long handle to improve the grip and stability of the instrument.
Technology: It has the latest technology that allows expanding functions and provides greater precision.
App: Through the free app you can access more content that will allow optimized use.
Functions: It is a high-end equipment with advanced functions, with comparison and thermographic detection.
Accessibility: Although it seems simple, its use can be complicated to interpret, so it is advisable to have prior knowledge.
Hasty decisions lead to inefficient purchases, so it is recommended to analyze and meditate on the characteristics of the models before purchasing a product. Therefore, in order for you to make an intelligent choice, you should know the main properties that denote quality and proper functioning. If you are interested, you could read the following guide to buy the best thermal imaging camera on the market, a section with all the details and keys for a secure purchase.
While a good, inexpensive thermal imaging camera might be a wise purchase at first glance, it’s best to make sure it’s convenient and suitable for both the computer’s operating system and the mobile device to be used (if it’s for mobile). Therefore, although its cost is low, if it cannot be used in the equipment you have, it would be as if it were not available, so it would end up as a bad investment.
In this sense, there are models suitable for mobile phones, but before purchasing them, it would be convenient to take a look at their compatibility. Some of the mobile options aren’t supported by all operating systems, so they might only apply to Macs.
Even some models of thermal imaging cameras provided to work with the Android operating system may not work in some terminals from brands such as Samsung or Sony, among others. Similarly, when running the program on the computer by using the software, it should be enabled smoothly to provide more usage options and diversified functions.
Materials and resistance
If you want a model of thermal imaging camera that is of quality and works properly at an optimized level for many years, you will need to pay attention to the materials that the manufacturer has used to build this instrument. In addition, the manufacturing material could be the indicator that will help you determine how much a thermal imager costs.
This equipment can be used for different purposes, so that, depending on the model and type, the device could be part of a closed security circuit or serve as an element to know the thermographic conditions of the objects tested in different environments.
Hence the importance of making a prudent and intelligent choice, which is built with resistant and robust materials, which provide durability and are suitable for inhospitable environments, without affecting its measurement system, reliability and calibration.
At the same time, the materials could help make it easier to grip and hold the device, as there are some that include rubber around it, which prevents sweaty hands from slipping, while protecting the instrument in case of falls from more than two meters. away.
When making a comparison of thermal imaging cameras, it is important to consider the functions that the model of interest presents with respect to other similar devices. The appropriate thing is that the alternative is equipped with state-of-the-art technological functions that help to obtain a better and more accurate measurement and that provides the user with the required data in an efficient manner, to later be analyzed and thus solve the inconveniences that may arise with cause of energy leakage and heat loss.
Thus, it is important that the model has properties such as a thermal sensor with adequate resolution, long-distance visibility (at least 300 meters), wide viewing angle, ability to function in different light conditions, for example, in daylight., in the dark or with low visibility, as well as automatic detection in the degree of emissions and MSX technology, which provides dynamic and multispectral images for greater detail.
Design is a feature to pay attention to in thermal imaging cameras. It is not about having a striking color or being aesthetically attractive, because the most important thing is functionality and precision. However, the design determines whether these instruments will be more or less manageable.
For this reason, the recommendation points to the selection of portable designs, with autonomy and a long clamping mechanism, which allows a correct grip of the device, in order to ensure that there will be stability during the measurement process. In addition, they must be compact and light in weight so that their professional use is diversified.
When making an efficient purchase of thermal imaging cameras, you need to think about temperature detection. Mid-range models are equipped with detection capabilities ranging from -40 to 320 degrees Celsius. Similarly, there are high-end alternatives that have a measurement range of -30 to 650 degrees. When there is more gap between the minimum and maximum range, results can be obtained with greater accuracy.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to make a thermal imager?
To make it you only need to have a digital camera (inexpensive), a screwdriver and glue. First, two square-shaped pieces of film negatives must be cut. These should end in black ends. Take the digital camera and open it with a screwdriver. Remove the charging device, which will be located on the back of the lens. Inside it is the infrared filter, which is a small piece of glass. Add glue to the film negative and then place it in the loading device, wait for it to dry and put the camera back together. Finally, take a picture in the dark and you will notice different colors.
Q2: How to calibrate a thermal imager?
The calibration of a thermal imager will depend on the model, since each instrument has an operating mechanism. Therefore, before rushing to make adjustments, it is recommended to take some time to read the instruction manual that the manufacturer has provided with the device. A correct calibration will guarantee a good operation, traceability of the measurements and reliability.
As it is not a simple process, there are some companies that take care of the process in calibration laboratories, where they check that the measurement captured in the infrared images is within the ±2°C or ±2% tolerance, according to the manufacturer’s standards.. To achieve this, use must be made of several sources of black body at different temperatures. In turn, the reference sources of black bodies are periodically calibrated by international entities and take into account the parameters of an environment controlled by a central computer.
Q3: How to read temperatures on a thermal imager?
The reading will depend on the model and brand of thermal imager used for the measurement. In most cases it is necessary to use a special application or software, a resource that will allow the report of the data collected in the images.
Q4: Who invented the thermal imager?
The thermal imager does not have a single inventor because it is the product of several advances that have been presented over the years. So his invention cannot be attributed to a single person. It was Herschel who discovered infrared radiation during the 19th century and by 1920 it was possible to measure the radiation. Some time later, radiation began to be measured in relation to temperature.
Then, in World War II, infrared radiation was used for military purposes for missiles. At the end of the war, a Swedish company known as AGA brought to market in 1960 the first thermal imager to be used for commercial purposes. By the 1980s, more manageable models appeared and, between 1990 and 2000, competition between brands provided a greater range of applications.
Q5: How accurate is a thermal imager?
Thermographic cameras are instruments that stand out for having an adequate level of precision. However, the reliability will depend on the model and the brand, since each of the alternatives has different technological developments. Most models have in their specifications the variation in accuracy that can be, in the best of cases, between ± 2% of the measured value.
How to use a thermal camera
Thermal imaging cameras are useful and specific instruments that should be used by professionals. They are delicate measuring equipment and can be put to many uses. So, to get the most out of its functions, you should follow a few steps and learn the keys of how to use a thermal imager efficiently.
check the package
When you receive the package, the first thing you should do is open it and check the contents inside. To do this, remove the items contained in the box one by one and place them on a flat surface. Confirm that all the pieces are complete, that no element is missing and that the physical structure of the camera is in good condition. If you find any inconvenience, it is prudent that you immediately contact the seller to notify about the problem and so that it can be resolved quickly. If everything is correct and complete, you can continue with the next step.
Locate and read the user manual
In the middle of all the elements that you removed from the packaging, there should be a kind of booklet, as well as a CD (software). Locate both and take some time to read the instructions and recommendations provided by the manufacturer and that will help make their use more appropriate.
Check the thermal imaging camera
In most manuals there is a page (among the first ones) that has the figure of the instrument and in it the parts and buttons are indicated. Grab your camera and compare it to the drawing to familiarize yourself with the device and its input methods.
Check the charge level and connect the thermal imager
These devices typically come from the factory with a base charge that needs to be topped off. To do this, turn on the instrument at the on/off button and check the amount of charge. If it’s enough for one take, proceed to take it. Otherwise, it is best to start charging. You will have to take the power cable and join it to the structure, while the other end should go towards the power adapter. Wait a couple of hours for the charging to complete and then proceed to use the camera.
Turn on the thermal imager
In general, to turn on the camera, you will have to press and hold the power button for three seconds. Depending on the model, the logo of the developer brand will be displayed. The auto-monitor then opens and when finished the camera is ready to use, so it will go directly to real-time infrared imaging mode.
Try the thermal imaging camera
Remember that this instrument is not a toy, but a measuring tool that requires careful use. Although each model is different, you will have to find the function or configuration button and, as you select the settings, you will have to review the screen and see the changes that occur in the image during operation. Thermal marks typically change about 60 times per second. On the screen, you can see the relationship between colors and temperatures. When you’re done, you’ll need to turn off the camera and store it in a safe place.