To identify and record heat sources in the dark, a thermal imaging camera is the most obvious piece of tech to invest in.
One can be used for finding areas in the home or workplace that are emitting too much heat – which could lead to big savings on energy bills. Many work well for various other types of structural inspections, such as areas where there is water damage and mechanical failures in a building.
These heat-sensing cameras also have long-established uses in the security realm, where they can be used to capture images of intruders in the dark. They are favored by hunters and wildlife enthusiasts that want to identify areas where wildlife commonly reside at night. Plus, there are very clear tactical surveillance applications for such a camera.
Best Thermal Imaging Cameras
FLIR ONE Pro
$402.99 in stock
9 used from $308.69
- FLIR ONE PRO: Powerful Infrared camera mobile accessary with adjustable one fit connector lets you find hidden electrical problems, energy loss, water damage, and other heat related issues.
- IMAGE DETAIL & CLARITY: Record crisp 19,200 pixel IR images – a 4X improvement over the FLIR ONE Pro LT – at a thermal sensitivity of 70 mK.
- EXPANDED MEASUREMENT: Measure temperatures up to 400 C – compared to a maximum of 120 C for the FLIR ONE Pro LT – with up to three spot temperature meters and six temperature regions of interest.
- VIVIDIR IMAGE PROCESSING: Unique image processing technology that enhances resolution and accuracy, to help you catch potential problems early and reliably diagnose problems. When combined with MSX – which enhances thermal images with visual details – the FLIR ONE Pro offers unsurpassed image quality for a mobile IR solution.
- ONEFIT CONNECTOR: Adjustable connector extends by up to 4 mm, so you can secure your FLIR ONE Pro to your mobile device while its still in the protective case.
The FLIR One is a very portable yet professional-grade mobile accessory for anyone that requires exceptional thermal imaging in the structural detection realm.
- 500 radiometric image capacity
- 4800 pixels
- 14 to 302°F thermal range
- MSX image enhancement
- 1-hour battery life
- 40 minute charge time
- Fixes to iOS phone/tablet
This small accessory works with your iOS device to detect invisible structural issues with superb accuracy and clarity.
The thermal resolution is very impressive and this product has been designed for commercial purposes only. It’s also incredibly easy to charge and it allows you to measure issues from a safe distance.
- Extremely portable
- Attaches easily
- High-quality thermal imagery
- Large thermal detection range
- Finds heat loss and water damage
- Can detect electrical issues
- Export controlled under US regulations for non-US-military end users
Why it’s recommended: For professionals, this thermal camera is an easy to carry attachment that will provide you with a way to see hidden structural, mechanical, and electrical issues.
$1,800.69 in stock
- 240x180 IR resolution (43, 200 pixels); Measurement modes include center spot, area min/max, above/below alarms
- Built in LED spotlight you can use as a flashlight and for photo illumination
- Rugged & lightweight; intuitive on screen Menus & ergonomic on camera buttons allow for one handed operation
- Captures/stores thermal, visual and msx images with each pull of the trigger; Radiometric JPEG retain all temperature data within the thermal images
- Picture in picture overlays a fixed section of a thermal image onto a digital photo to clarify problem locations and enhance documentation
The FLIR E6-XT is an advanced handheld infrared camera option with an extended temperature range and has incredible image resolution – allowing a user to see astoundingly clear infrared imagery.
- 240×180 infrared resolution
- 20 to 550 degrees celsius heat range
- MSX thermal technology
- Weighs 1.26 ounces.
- E6-XT camera
- Radiometric JPEG image capture
The FLIR E6-XT provides superb features for advanced building inspections. It’s tough and lightweight design only requires one hand to operate.
It also gives you picture overlays of a thermal image to help identify problem areas in a building, as well as providing enhanced documentation.
- Lightweight and tough
- Ergonomic design
- Excellent clarity
- One-handed operation
- Radiometric images
- Extended temperature range
- Instant data sharing
- High-end pricing
Why it’s recommended: This is a thermal camera that can be used easily for professional work, where you need to provide data and evidence of your findings. Moreover, it’s packed with high-quality specs and will perform any required tasks well.
3 used from $499.99
- C3-X: Handheld IR camera measures temperatures from -20 to 300°C (-4 to 572°F)
- IDENTIFY AND TROUBLESHOOT - Quickly find hidden faults and reduce diagnostic time with MSX and 128 × 96 true thermal imaging (12,288 pixels)
- PATENTED TECHNOLOGY - Patented MSX embosses visual details on the thermal image to create sharper, easier to understand picture
- DOCUMENT AND SHARE - Directly upload images using FLIR Ignite cloud connectivity, then create professional reports and email them to customers
- RUGGED, RELIABLE, COMPACT - Take the pocket-portable C3-X with you to every job - it's IP54 rated for protection against water and dust and designed to withstand a 2 m drop
The FLIR C3-X is a compact style thermal camera that is easy to carry on the move. It’s easily pocketed and comes as a standard model, or wifi enabled version.
- Building industry focused design
- Compact and portable
- MSX thermal image enhancement
- Precision molded casing
- IP54 water and dust resistant
- Can withstand a 2m drop
- 3.5-inch screen
- Flir Tools software included
- Wide field of view
As a building industry-focused design, the FLIR C3 can detect hidden heat patterns that indicate energy wastage. It’s useful for finding structural defects and plumbing problems within a building too.
And, it allows the user to detect where structural repairs, that are invisible to the naked eye, have been carried out by using radiometric imagery.
- Lightweight at 6.7 ounces
- Pocket-sized design
- High sensitivity
- Rechargeable lithium polymer battery
- Optional voltage/moisture pen packages
- Multi-purpose detection
- Clear viewing screen
- Good value for the money
- Not ideal for in-depth moisture inspections
Why it’s recommended: For a thermal camera within its price range, the Flir C3-X offers a lot of value for money. It’s recommended as a handy tool for anyone regularly carrying out structural inspections.
- Ruggedized, high resolution thermal camera with a 320 x 240 thermal Sensor to help you find and fix problems faster on the jobsite or at home.
- Built for the jobsite with professional measurement tools, revealer helps you find and fix faster by seeing building problems invisible to the naked eye such as: energy loss, electrical and mechanical failures, water damage, and hundreds more heat related issues.
- Perfect tool for contractors, inspectors, engineers and DIY homeowners.
- Includes a 300 lumen LED flashlight, long-lasting rechargeable battery, large color display, and durable rubberized casing.
- Specs: 320 x 240 thermal Sensor, 32° field of view, 9 Hz frame, fixed-focus lens, -40F° to 626°f detection range, captures photos, spot temperature, 9 Color palettes, auto & span/level control, 4 emissivity presets
As a truly rugged design, the Seek Thermal Revealpro works well for professionals that need a product that will last the test of time.
- 320×240 thermal sensor
- 300 lumen LED flashlight
- Tough rubberized casing
- 32 degrees field of view
- -40 to 626°F detection range
- 4 emissivity options
- 9 Hz frame
- Large colorful display
Made to detect heat, water, and electrical related issues in buildings, this thermal camera is the perfect tool for professionals that want to get the job done properly.
It features a fixed-focus lens and exceptional clarity so you can really find out where an otherwise invisible problem is located.
- Tough and durable construction
- Small and portable
- Wide field of view
- Large temperature detection range
- Includes a useful flashlight
- Auto span and level control
- Slightly on the expensive side relative to other similar options
Why it’s recommended: The biggest draw to this thermal camera design is that it has been ruggedized, meaning it should be hard-wearing and reliable over a long period.
Fluke PTi120 Pocket
- With Fluke Connect asset tagging you eliminate the tedium of sorting and organizing your infrared images by simply scanning your asset’s QR code or bar code, your infrared image and all of your date and time stamped information will be stored to your predefined folder
- Small enough to carry every day without worry, always at hand, stands up to dirt and water, and can survive a 1-meter drop
- The 3. 5” LCD touchscreen offers IR-fusion to blend a visible light image with an infrared image to more easily locate problems, simply slide your finger across the screen to adjust the setting
- Fully radiometric thermal imager with 120 x 90 pixel infrared resolution
One of the real benefits of this Fluke PTi120 Thermal Imager is that you can asset tag your photos so they can be easily found and organized efficiently.
- Asset tagging
- Compact and portable design
- Water/dirt resistance
- 5 inch LCD touchscreen
- IR-fusion technology
- Radiometric thermal imagery
- 120×90 pixel IR resolution
A simple and effective thermal imaging solution for construction professionals offered by Fluke. It works well in scanning electrical panels, motors, and HVAC systems for problematic areas.
Plus, it is a rugged design that can withstand heavy use out on building sites, making it a long-lasting and reliable option.
- Intuitive to use
- Easy to find images
- Very portable design
- Comes with a carry case and lanyard
- Large and clear touchscreen
- Mix normal and IR images
- Good Flir alternative
- Computing speed is a little slow compared to pricier alternatives
Why it’s recommended: The asset tagging aspect, as well as the portability of this Fluke IR camera, make it an attractive proposition. It comes as a solid design and should last the test of time.
$172.43 in stock
- Transform your smartphone or tablet into an all-purpose thermal camera with a 206 x 156 thermal Sensor for use at home, the jobsite, and more.
- Find and fix faster by seeing problems invisible to the naked eye such as: energy loss, electrical and mechanical failures, water damage, and hundreds more heat related issues.
- Perfect tool for DIY homeowners, contractors, builders, and engineers.
- Does not require batteries or charging. Waterproof case included. Free seek mobile app.
- Specs: 206 x 156 thermal Sensor, 36° field of view, < 9 Hz frame rate, focusable lens, -40F° to 626°f detection range, captures photos & videos, spot temperature, high-low temperature, threshold mode, 9 Color palettes
For the budget-minded, this Seek Thermal Compact offers an “all-purpose” thermal image capturing solution and can be used with Android and MicroUSB technology.
- 206×156 thermal sensor
- 36 degrees field of view
- Lens focus
- -40-626°F detection range
- Photo and video capture
- Choice of 9 color palettes
- Powered by phone/tablet/laptop
Given the price, this simple to use battery-free thermal camera design can be used by homeowners to seek out structural issues in a building. Such issues could include water damage, mechanical failures, and areas of heat loss, that can not be identified with the naked eye.
- No batteries required
- Easy to use design
- Software included
- Ideal for homeowners
- Decent field of view
- Good heat-sensing range
- Waterproof case included
- Not ideal for professional work
Why it’s recommended: Whether you require thermal imaging for particular tasks, or just want one for the fun of it, this inexpensive Seek Thermal Compact camera is a great option. And, it won’t break the bank.
- ★ Fully Equipped IR Night Vision Camera: Specially designed for night vision. Equipped with Additional [Night Vision Flashlight, WiFi Remote Control, 2*Rechargeable Batteries, 32GB SD Card, Wide-Angle] to meet all the shooting needs. The flashlight provide external light for the infrared night vision, can shoot high definition image and videos in low light condition or even darkness.
- ★ 4K Ultra HD Video Camera: Upgraded 4K video camera camcorder built-in High-level Chip, Sony COMS Sensor and 30X Digital Zoom. Support 4K 30fps, can capture 30MP image resolution. Allows you to get super realistic videos and images. Camera for YouTube equipped with extra wide-angle and 3 inch 270 degree touch screen, thus you could see what you are recording and prefect function for self blogging.
- ★ Video Camera&Webcam 2-IN-1: Our wifi video camera recorder can not only to take beautiful photos/videos and share it in your Youtube, but also used as webcam when the camera connect the computer for live streaming and video calls. It provides excellent quality video streaming on social media such as Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Podcast, Twitter, etc.
- ★ IR Night Vison & External Flashlight: Added a flashlight, highly improved the effect for night vision shooting. The flashlight works with highly sensitive infrared sensors, that can easily capture subtle light changes at night and darkness. This can help on ghost hunting or identify potential supernatural manifestations or anomalies.
- ★ Pause Function & Wifi Remote Control: Our video vlogging camera supports Pause function, so you can pause the recording when you need,then continue recording again without starting a new one, which makes it easier for you to edit and upload the videos. This 4K night vision camera also supports remote control. All the controls can be accessed through a 2.4G remote controller, no members are excluded from the group photo.
This Spectrum Camcorder is packed full of modern technology so it can capture high definition videos and images.
- External IR Illumination
- 32gb SD card
- 1080p recording
- 4K Ultra HD 30x digitally enhanced zoom
- Webcam functionality
- Automatic file compression
- Android/iPhone apps
- IPS touchscreen
It uses a built-in external infrared LED light for its IR mode which saves on huge amounts of battery life with the main unit. It also saves video files and compresses them automatically to allow for more storage capacity.
The zoom function means that this camera can be used for viewing game or wildlife from afar, and it can be used in both night and day effectively.
- High definition imagery
- Long-lasting battery life
- Video night and day
- Good for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts
- Excellent zoom function
- Large storage capacity
- Batteries and SD card included
- Wide-angle viewing
- The sound quality could be improved slightly
Why it’s recommended: Some people prefer a full camcorder type set-up which can work for them at night as well as in the day. By using a separate IR light, this ingenious design gives you night visuals without draining the camcorder’s batteries.
11 used from $202.49
- No Standalone lithium batteries are sold with the product
- Thermal Resolution: 32 x 32 , 1024 pixels , Camera and Video Recording, 9Hz Refresh Rate; Touch screen: Real time temperature information from any pixel on the screen
- Thermal Sensitivity: 0.15°C, Temperature Range: -22 to 1832 °F (-30 to 1000 °C) , Temperature Accuracy:+/- 2 % or +/- 2 °C
- Thermal Radiometry data included for full report analyses, CSV format, compatible with thermal software
- Based on Android platform: Update firmware conveniently at home and experience smoother operations all around
At a very reasonable price, this PerfectPrime IR02080 camera and video recorder offers great value for the money, given all the features packed into the design.
- 32×32 thermal resolution
- Simple touch screen controls
- Real-time temperature readings
- -22 to 1832 °F temperature range
- Radiometry data reports/analysis
- Works on an Android platform
- 1024 pixel camera
This camera produces accurate thermal graphic reports that can be analyzed easily on the device itself, or separately on a computer.
The touch screen operation makes using the device straightforward and intuitive for the user. Plus, you can record thermal viewing and analyze the visuals at a later time.
- Excellent budget option
- Fluid real-time info and camera movement
- Lightweight and ergonomic
- Good battery life
- Can easily attach a tripod
- Straightforward file management
- Easy to follow manual
- Heat spot detection could be more precise
Why it’s recommended: Quite simply, this is a low budget thermal capture device that’s easy to use and offers a great range of features that you would not expect in this price range.
$391.92 in stock
2 used from $332.71
- All-purpose, powerful, pocket-sized thermal camera with a 206 x 156 thermal Sensor, a 36° field-of-view lens, and seekfusion technology
- Analyze photos immediately with on-board thermography tools and create time-saving reports on the spot. Use seekfusion to expose More detail with adjustable blend of visible and thermal images.
- Perfect tool for building inspectors, building professionals, contractors, engineers, and DIY homeowners
- Includes on-device analysis, Wi-Fi streaming, rechargeable battery, large color touchscreen, and seekfusion technology
- Specs: 206 x 156 thermal Sensor, 36° field of view, < 9 Hz frame, Post capture analysis tools, seekfusion, Wi-Fi streaming via free seekview app, capture photos & Video, large touch screen display, 3 customizable spot temperatures, 3 customizable area boxes with min, max and Avg, lock and adjust temperature span,
automatic hi/low temperature indicators, 8 Color palettes, 4 emissivity presets.Spectral Range:7.5 – 14 Microns
As an all-purpose thermal imaging camera option, this Seek Shot design is great value for money, compact, lightweight, and ultra-portable.
- 36 degrees field of view
- 206×156 thermal sensor
- Seekfusion technology
- In-device analysis
- Wifi streaming available
- Large touchscreen
- Customizable spot temperatures
- Eight color palettes
Made for both professionals and homeowners, this thermographic camera allows you to notice issues in structures, electronics, plumbing, or mechanics that can not be seen by the naked eye.
Once images have been captured, it’s also incredibly simple to get straight into the analysis just using the device itself. The wifi streaming aspect is great for sharing your findings in real-time.
- Affordable thermographic camera option
- Easy analysis tools on board
- Wide field of view
- Can blend normal and thermal imagery
- Rechargeable battery
- Large and clear visuals
- Touchscreen operation
- Various presets to choose from
- Might be overly sensitive for some people’s needs
- Not recommended for high-end professional work
Why it’s recommended: This Seek Shot design gives you all the capabilities needed to inspect various hidden issues in your home, without having to spend a small fortune.
Choosing a Thermal Imaging Camera
It’s becoming more evident that there are a growing number of uses for thermal imaging cameras with technological advances in the modern world.
Some of the main reasons why people choose them are:
- Building and structural diagnosis
- Infrastructural and electrical maintenance
- Nighttime civil security
- Wildlife protection and observation
- Varmint locating and hunting
- Tactical training
- Temperature checking
The most common reason is for finding problems in buildings and infrastructure. Domestically, these cameras are useful for finding where heat is escaping in the home, as well as plumbing and electrical issues.
With the right type of thermal camera, security professionals can see intruders or potential threats from afar in complete darkness. Wildlife conservationists, as well as hunters, can also similarly use this type of camera in pitch black conditions.
Certain thermal cameras can work well for tactical training exercises, but it should be remembered that nearly all of the cameras we’ve mentioned are mostly designed for civilian use.
Lastly, temperature checking has become a common occurrence in today’s world, given virus threats. Ideally, you should want a very portable thermal camera for this that displays a person’s temperature in real-time.
Difference between Infrared and Thermal Cameras
Essentially infrared cameras are active IR systems that utilize a short wavelength infrared light to illuminate a chosen area. This light is then reflected back and interpreted into an image.
Thermal imaging cameras use mid to long-range wavelength infrared energy to view a particular location. They are considered passive and will only sense and therefore display images via the location’s heat signature.
Usually, thermal images are considered the superior form of imaging out of the two choices. What holds people back is the pricing, which is normally a fair bit more expensive than night vision IR systems.
Things to look out for in Thermal Cameras
Having a good selection of modes is ideal for anyone wanting to detect different problems, especially in the home or in commercial building projects.
This is an obvious benefit for any thermal camera. The clearer the image, the easier it is to identify problems, threats, or targets.
Having a large screen display with relevant information being shown in real-time is definitely a desirable feature to look for in a heat camera. The required data to be shown all depends on the application, of course.
Temperature accuracy is highly important when the data counts on a professional or commercial level. Gaining accurate temperature readings of people when checking for potential virus carriers is clearly important. Also when checking buildings, electrics, and plumbing, it can really make a difference in the problem identification process.
This aspect is more of a priority for people using these devices on the move, and when they don’t have immediate access to a power hub. It’s also desirable for wildlife observation when a camera is left overnight to spot animals in the dark.
This is most important in portable devices that are used without a connection to a larger tablet or laptop, or if they are not wifi enabled.
Ease of use
Finally, it makes sense to purchase an easy to use a thermal imaging camera that doesn’t take hours of learning before you can use it.
This article has given you a wide selection of some of the best thermal imaging cameras we could find to date. Not all of them are “top of the range”, but each choice is arguably one of the best within their price category.
We now hope, at least, you are more informed about what thermal imaging cameras are capable of and how they can be used for particular applications. Moreover, you should now understand which camera could suit your specific requirements.
Visit the OutdoorWorld Reviews homepage for more expert product reviews and information.
Thermal Imaging Camera
Choosing the best thermal imaging camera for your needs is easy with our detailed reviews and ratings!
- FLIR ONE Pro
- FLIR E6-XT
- Flir C3-X
- Seek Revealpro
- Fluke PTi120 Pocket
- Seek Compact
- PerfectPrime IR0280
- Seek Shot