Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Leak Detection 2019

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Thermal Imaging Cameras for Leak Detection
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In this technical warming world, finding the solution to eliminate the energy loss inside and outside the home is prominent.

As a homeowner, you could save hundreds of dollar by being a pro while inspecting and checking your home or property. Thermal leaks and energy loss are possible anywhere in and around the home but finding where they are is the solution to rectifying the issues. It will not only afford you comfortable and energy efficient home but also reduce the overall energy loss and expensive bills.

We can’t see these insulation and thermal leaks in the home with a naked eye. But thermal leak detectors will help you in spotting the hot/cold spots in your property or home so you can take resolving actions quickly.

Now you know why building inspectors and contractors are preferred to use thermal imaging cameras for leak detection. These cameras can see the plumbing areas or pipes under the wall or behind the building to find the leaks before they developed a real problem.

Here you will get the important things you should know about the best thermal imaging cameras for leak detection.

Table: Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Leak Detection

Product
Product Name
Our Rating
FLIR C2 leak
FLIR C2 Thermal Camera
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
FLIR TG165 Thermal Camera
4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
seek reveal leak
Seek Reveal Thermal Camera
4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
flir e5 leak
FLIR E5 Thermal Imaging Camera
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
seek compact leak
Seek Thermal Compact Imager
4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)
BLACK+DECKER
BLACK+DECKER TLD100 Camera
4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Leak Detection: 6 Cameras Reviewed

1. FLIR C2 Thermal Camera with MR40 Moisture Pen

FLIR C2 is the practical design that can be stored in any pocket or bag to help the professional inspectors or homeowners who have to carry the camera all over the house or building area during the inspection.

It provides the temperature details in two ways as you can check out from the screen or you can listen to the audible details. Different sounds for different ranges of temperature.

Thermal Camera Features

FLIR C2 uses MSX-image enhancement technology to provide more detailed thermal images of problem zones.

This camera can capture as many as 500 radiometric thermal images and each image has its own 4800 pixels to boast accurate thermal data to the user.

The temperature sensitivity ranges from 14 degrees Fahrenheit to 302 degrees Fahrenheit which makes it ideal for professionals. The thermal sensor in this camera has resolution 80 × 60 (4,800 pixels).

It has an automatic shutoff feature to saves the battery life of the device when it is not used. The MSX image enhancement method combines both visible light and thermal image. It embeds the visible light image on to the infrared (thermal) image to provide the critical temperature difference values in real time.

The display screen is about 3-inches which is wide enough to show the heat patterns of a room. You can use this to find the hot spots and heat loss added with leak detection.

It has a large field of view of about 45 degrees which is comparatively high than many of its kinds.

FLIR tools software helps you change the color palettes, analyze details, and access the camera to capture the undiluted complete thermal image. Continue reading the review of FLIR C2 thermal camera.

About the Moisture Pen

The pins in the moisture pen can be replaced easily and the rugged outer shell fits heavy duty applications.

The cool feature in this pen is its LED spotlight which works doubles as the usual flashlight in complete darkness.

PROS

  • Wide Field of view
  • Large Camera Display

CONS

  • There can be some lag during the calibration phase.

2. FLIR TG165 Thermal Camera and Moisture Pen

In the second place, we have a compact thermal device unit with minimal yet powerful components that will help more in the future.

You will get a handy thermal imaging camera and the standard moisture pen carefully packed with protective waterproof carry case.

So you can carry this device to your field of use or building site with ease.

Thermal Camera Features

This TG165 compact thermal camera utilizes two laser points to show the thermal image of the place or object you are viewing.

It can measure the temperature details from 4 inches and the temperature sensitivity range is between -13 degrees Fahrenheit and 716 degrees Fahrenheit.

As it has such a wide temperature detection range, you can use this device to detect any area or objects from home to the car.

This spot thermal camera has a Lepton Infrared imaging sensor with a resolution of 80 x 60 pixels. With this sensor, you can get the sharp and clear thermal images for the in-depth examination which means you or your client can know the exact root causes of air leaks and heat loss.

The TG165 thermal camera has a 9Hz refresh rate. It has grip handle so there are no chances for shaken or choppy images.

It has 50 degrees field of view which makes it scan the wide area with one scan and offer a large image of heat signatures.

This device has the TFT color screen display with three color palettes such as iron, gray, and rainbow. So you can see the different aspects of the thermal image using these color palettes.

TG165 has designed as a compact and handy thermal camera with one large trigger at the center to operate easily.

The other buttons on the device are power-back, menu-OK, and two arrow controls. This intuitive control does not need any training to access it. Read more reviews of TG165 thermal camera.

About the Moisture Pen

FLIR TG165 uses the same MR40 Moisture Pen that C2 has. It has replaceable pins, LCD display, automatic shut off, on/off button, and two-way indications. The operating temperature of this pen is -10°c to 50°c. It is resistant from the fall of 3 meters.

PROS

  • TFT Color Screen
  • Automatic Shut Off

CONS

  • No MSX image enhancement technology that is common in most FLIR models.

3. Seek Thermal Reveal Thermal Camera

Seek Reveal thermal imaging camera is pocket-sized with all the customizable settings and benefits. The best part of this thermal camera is that you can choose your preferred light levels, image options, and power usages.

This highly equipped thermal camera not only allows capture thermal images but also to save, share and transfers them based on the purpose. This makes this camera apt for leak detection in households.

Thermal Camera Features

This device will be comfortable in your hands as it has an ergonomic grip and heads-up display. It has a 36-degree field of view to scan the room interior and spot the potential difficulties fastly. The temperature sensitivity detection ranges between -40 degrees Fahrenheit and 626 degrees Fahrenheit. The captured thermal images will be directly saved to the SD card in the device for future use.

This thermal camera has the rechargeable battery that can last long for 10 hours so you can use it for long duration inspection.

The impressive LCD color display of this thermal camera shows everything it detects so you won’t miss anything.

This thermal camera has another best quality features that it can see in night and day which means you can use this device in extreme daylighting conditions to complete dark nights.

Seek reveal has 300-lumen LED light to clearly watch your surroundings when it is too dark. This makes it applicable to hunters, electricians, and common people. This thermal camera offers its best in detecting the water leaks.

PROS

  • High Temperature Sensitivity
  • User-friendly Menu Controls

CONS

  • There is no option to adjust the emissivity levels and recording video.

4. FLIR E5 Thermal Imaging Camera

FLIR E5 has a steady and rugged construction with lightweight to boasts as a perfect inspection tool. As we know FLIR is one of the best thermal imaging camera brands to provide promising thermal devices, this E5 is also one of those durable and accurate resulting thermal camera for home inspections, leak detection, hunting, etc.

Thermal Imaging Camera Features

It has a thermal sensor with a resolution of 120 x 90 pixels. For image enhancement, it uses FLIR’s ideal MSX imaging technology which combines thermal image and visible light image for better-detailed image. MSX helps to find common issues like energy loss, water leaks, heating circuits, hotspots, and other structural deficiencies. For all kind of mechanical, industrial or electrical issues, you can rely on this FLIR E5 thermal camera.

The temperature sensitivity range of spot thermal camera is between -4° F and 482° F, so you can use this thermal camera for electrical inspections effectively. It has 3-inches LCD screen display with a resolution of 320 x 240.

The refresh rate possible with this thermal camera is about 9Hz. It has the Wi-Fi ability to transfer the stored files to other devices.

The rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery offers 4 hours of continuous operation. It has 45 x 34 degrees wide field of view which covers almost everything in the scene on the screen.

This thermal camera needs no special training to use it. They have developed as simple to use and has user-friendly on-screen menu control with the ergonomic buttons so you can operate it single-handedly.

This device has another impressive feature that is the downloadable FLIR mobile app. With this application, you can share the images and reports anywhere anytime using a tablet, laptop or smartphone. So any site contractor or inspector can send the temperature details to client or company from the working spot in real time.

With this thermal camera unit, you will get the FLIR reporting software tools, Lithium-Ion battery, USB cable, battery charger, user manual, software for Mac and PC.

PROS

  • Wireless Sharing and Transfer
  • High IR Sensor Resolution

CONS

  • For professional leak detection in a huge building, 4 hours of battery life may not enough.

5. Seek Thermal Compact Imager

Are you looking for a compact thermal imager for leak detection in the home? Then Seek Compact Thermal Imager is best. This thermal camera has a durable structure and can be directly plugged into your smartphones. These thermal imagers get charged from the phone’s battery and use phone screen to display the translated heat radiation.

Thermal Imaging Camera Features

It has 36-degrees field of view which is wide enough to use in outdoor and indoor at the close range so you can detect any objects that are 1000 feet away using this imager.

Using the temperature detection ranges between -40 degrees Fahrenheit and 626 degrees Fahrenheit, this camera able to spot where the leakage inside the home and insulation loss.

Seek compact has 206 x 156 pixels thermal sensor which converts the smartphone as the thermal camera. It has 9 Hz refresh rate and 36 degrees field of view which far enough to detect water leaks and energy loss in indoor. You have preferred to choose any of the 9 color palettes to projects a thermal image.

Thermal imaging technology in this imager also identifies the overheated circuits, cold/hotspots in a fire. Because of its multi-functional features, this device has adapted by homeowners to save energy and cost.

It has a focused lens which helps you get the fine thermal imaging. This feature becomes the advantage of professionals like building auditors, inspectors, contractors, and so on.

This seek thermal imager also used to detect the animals or people in the complete darkness so you’ll get peace of mind when you’re using this thermal camera for hunting trips.

This device comes with a waterproof carry case to take it anywhere and use at any weather conditions.

However, most of the time you don’t want to remove this imager from your phone even when you have to move from one place to another since it weighs too low. Sometimes you don’t even feel that was connected.

It detects IR energy and displays the heat signature of objects using more than 32,000 thermal pixels on the smartphone display.

PROS

  • Wide Detection Range
  • Multi-functional Features

CONS

  • Seek imager requires your smartphone to have the ability to allow power taking.

6. BLACK+DECKER TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector

Black + Decker is one of the biggest names in a household and industrial power tools manufacturing. The products of B & D promised to be high quality and durable design. So you won’t go wrong with TLD100 also.

As it is from a popular manufacturer, you can expect the high-end features and functionalities from this leak detector. It is the cheapest thermal camera on our list.

Thermal Imaging Camera Features

This inexpensive thermal imaging camera is technically a heat gun which can detect the temperature differences. The design is just simple and neat providing effective heat loss and leak detection sources.

Within a fraction of seconds, you will know how to use this device to track the energy loss, leaking sources in a room.

A great choice for homeowners and DIYers!

The heat sensitivity detection range starts from -22 degrees Fahrenheit to 302 degrees Fahrenheit which shows the detailed heat pattern of objects on the wide LCD display.

There are three adjustable temperature settings on the device such as 1, 5, or 10 degrees Celsius. The shining light changes its color based on the temperature. If it is hot the color will be red and for cold spots it is blue.

This thermal leak detector is the perfect choice for those who are looking for a cheap and basic device that will provide them the heat pattern of cold/hotspots without any complexity. For the budgeted and accurate thermal device, this TLD100 would not be a bad option.

You just want to pinpoint the area and turn around the room or home to find the leaks and heat loss. But for other applications such as hunting or trapping animal in hidden areas, this thermal camera won’t fit as other industrial grade devices.

This is not designed to be a multi-functional device, the only purpose of this leak detector is to help the homeowners to identify the sources of leaks and make their home energy efficient.

PROS

  • LED Light Indicator
  • LCD Screen Display

CONS

  • There are no color palettes and image enhancement technologies.

Why Thermal Imaging Camera for Leak Detection

Thermal imaging technology measures even the small temperature changes due to moisture.

Most of the complicated or advanced tool projects a colored image but this and the monochromatic levels show the wet areas as darker. This is not enough to clear the leaking problems.

However, it is not hard to spot the wet areas but every time you can’t find from where the water is leaking.

After you find the wet area on a ceiling, you should find out what causes this leak. This may because of the hole in the roof, or plumbing leaks in the upstairs.

If the wet area spotted in the basement, there may be water flowing through the floor or running via a window or cracking the walls.

A thermal imaging camera can help in these situations to find the exact source of water leaks.

Thermal imaging cameras for home inspection not only detect the source of leaks but as a building inspector, you need to use your tool to find the moisture in every room.

Most of the time, there is no indication for the moisture infiltration until it becomes a serious problem. But thermal leak detection can found it early and saves the homeowner’s expenses.

Leak Detection Using Thermal Camera

A thermal camera can detect the water leaks behind the walls or hidden plumbing areas using any of these two methods:

1) The trapped moisture in an area shows colder than its surroundings.

2) In a heated room, the moisture takes a long time to cool down so thermal imaging camera can measure this higher temperature and shows up with color accordingly.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leak

Within a few steps, you can detect the water leaks in your home or property.

Step 1:

Turn on the thermal camera and set the temperature sensitivity range. This value based on the indoor temperature and outdoor ambient temperature. The selected range has to cover the maximum and minimum natural temperature and room for the difference.

Step 2:

Start scanning room from one wall and continue your work around the room and end at the ceiling. Be attentive while scanning windows and bathrooms.

Based on the environmental conditions, water in the wall will either cool or warm than the normal temperature of used construction materials. If you use the camera with color display, you will get temperature variations in an image with different colors.

Step 3:

If you assume the water leak is due to plumbing, turn on the water supply to that area. If you suspect it as a roof leak, you have to use a thermal camera during rainfall.

Step 4:

Focus the suspected leak areas and observe the thermal image. The temperature variation of water is because of the evaporation process. A winding temperature difference detected in the ceiling is the good sign of water leak. A temperature difference measured under windows and bottom of wall framing also the good indicator of a leak.

Step 5:

To confirm the moisture in the wall use the moisture meter. You have to set the meter to wall type and face it against the wall. If you detect the moisture content on and above 18%, it is a problem.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Air Leak

Using thermal imaging camera for finding the origin of air leaks needs few additional fixings than finding insulation problems.

To force the airflow through cracks and holes on the wall, have to change the air pressure of indoor related to outdoor.

The warmer or colder airflow from the outdoor to the room through cracks and holes can be located on thermal imaging camera and the inspector found the sources of these air leaks.

You can use the blower door equipment to force the air into a room via holes and cracks. This process creates perfect conditions for airflow on leaky spots and these spots are displayed in a thermal image.

You can use exhaust fans and ventilation system of home instead of a blower to create similar conditions and gather leaking spots details.

Areas To Check

Before looking for air leaks, it is important to decide what areas to examine to finish the process within time. An infrared camera is helpful to know where to start finding the air leaks. During the blower door test, you can feel the air leaks with the hand. While cold weather, the places which have insufficient insulation may be visible because of the temperature change in those specific areas.

The important areas to check while thermal leak detection.

Building inspectors can start their detection with light fixtures, basement rim joists, windows and doors, ductwork, kitchen soffits, cellar doors, etc. or any suspected water or air leaking area or the place where insulated is lacking.

How to Choose the Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Leak Detection

Now after knowing the importance and necessity of thermal camera for leak detection, you have to decide which thermal imaging camera model will be suitable for your work.

Budget

If you’re looking for the thermal camera for personal need and not for daily use, then you can choose some cheap thermal imaging camera which would offer basic thermal imaging and detection.

Otherwise, for professional use as a building inspector, you will need accurate results and crystal clear images; you should rely on some high-end thermal camera with high resolution, sensitivity, and durability to fit for regular usage.

Usage

Consider where you will use this device. Those who have to work in different environmental conditions and places need a strong, rugged and heavy duty thermal camera with decent drop protection.

Custom Report

Homeowners won’t look for this feature but for service providers it is inevitable. They must submit the final report to their customers so the camera with sharing and reporting software would be a great choice for them.

Intuitive and User-friendly

Though the devices have advanced features and functions, they should easy to use.

An intuitive menu control and buttons on the device will be convenient for homeowners and professionals.

As an inspector, look for the large screen camera to know the exact condition without guessing.

Durability

A thermal camera unit for service providers needs to wear and tear resistant and withstand rough handling. If you are purchasing it for your home to use once in a while, save money and buy inexpensive basic thermal leak detectors.

Accuracy

A high-quality thermal sensor is essential to get a clear and accurate temperature reading in any application. For this, you have to choose the thermal camera with high thermal sensitivity so you won’t miss any defects which may cause energy loss in the future.

Additional Features

If you want the moisture content data, a moisture pen is essential. Most of the thermal camera for leak detection has included this pen in their unit.

A thermal camera with laser pointer shows where you exactly pointing the camera. It is important while you looking for hidden pipes.

Apart from room temperature, another important data to know is humidity. A thermal camera unit with humidity sensor can inform you if the humidity is normal or higher. This is also considered as evidence of moisture in the roof or wall.

Thermal imaging cameras for leak detection are available in every price range so if you are homeowner or service provider you will never have to worry about finding the leaks in hidden places.

Thermal leak detection saves not only the energy sources but also the money a homeowner has to spend for breakage due to hidden water or air leaks.

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