2020’s Best Thermal Imaging Cameras {Flir Vs Fluke Vs 3 Others}

Thermal-camera

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It is not an easy task to choose the best thermal imaging cameras due to the number of choices put before you. Since this is a 3-4 figure investment, you can’t buy one just like that without any research.

To help you buy the right thermographic cameras, our experts have reviewed 21 thermal heat cameras made by top companies, used them for over 48 hours, and finally have come with the results of the tests we carried out.

Here is the list of 11 Best Thermal imaging Infrared Cameras both expensive and budget options that are worth the money you pay and are the market leaders in this segment.

If you are in a hurry, here is our Best Overall Thermal Imaging Camera in terms of features, usability, specifications, and price.

Contents

#1 Rated Thermal Camera

(ThermoGears’s Best Pick)

best-thermal-camera-overall

Main Features

  • 80×60 IR Pixels
  • Visual and MSX
  • 22°F to 131°F
  • 2° C Accurate

And if you are looking for the cheapest thermal imaging camera, We have another article in our blog featuring cheap thermal cameras.

leak-in-airbus

Leak in a airbus found by thermal imaging camera within minutes. Without this, you need to pull out tons of panels and floorboards before you find out the leak.

If you’re from a thermal camera company and have a special offer for our readers, contact us and send us your exclusive offer.

Best Thermal Imaging Cameras – 11 Products Reviewed

As already said, thermal imaging cameras are utilized in a variety of real-life applications.

All the heat vision cameras are designed with standard thermal imaging features and has few special specs based on the industry or application where they’re going to be used.

Therefore, here, we listed the top 10 Best Thermal imaging cameras which can be used for electrical inspection, agriculture, home inspection, plumbing, vehicles, wildlife, hunting, and many more.

1. FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera

FLIR is one of the leading thermal device manufacturers. They have produced a series of FLIR thermal imaging camera models with basic FLIR’s thermal imaging technology and various high-tech features.

FLIR TG165 thermal camera

Main Features

  • Brand: FlIR
  • Temperature Range: 13°F to 716°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 80x60pixels
  • Refresh Rate: 9 HZ

Why it is ranked #1?

  • Has FLIR’s unique thermal imaging technology
  • Combines traditional thermal camera and single spot IR camera
  • Comes with Lepton micro thermal sensor to find heat spots
  • Class II laser with 150mK thermal sensitivity
  • Need no specialized training to operate

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • High temperature accuracy
  • Intuitive design
  • Rugged and strong body
FLIR TG165 5
A part of the refinery pipeline in an industry is inspected by FLIR TG165 thermal camera to ensure it is not leaking any heat or air.

FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera is the first recommended thermal tool that fills the gap between the traditional FLIR thermal imaging cameras and a single spot IR camera. It allows the user to see the heat and notify the place to detect.

Lepton Micro Thermal Sensor

This Flir TG165 has Flir’s unique Lepton micro thermal sensor to find the cold and hot spots and enable the thermal images and its information to be stored.

Later, that can be used in final reports and given to customers. It’s simple usability, and intuitive design needs no specialized training to use.

FLIR TG165 2
The display of FLIR TG165 shows the current temperature level, battery value, brightness, and altitude values.

Built Quality

TG165 is a Class II thermal laser device that has 150mK as their thermal sensitivity, and the frame refresh rate is 9 Hz.

This thermal imager is available with an 8GB micro SD card that can store up to 75,000 images and USB cable for data transfer purposes.

This rugged thermal imaging camera cost is less when compared to most of the other thermal tools offering the same features. Flir TG165 has 24:1 as spot ratio.

Dual Laser Targeting System

Flir TG165 thermal camera has a dual laser targeting system to help you in aiming the problematic areas. 36-inches is the optimal length of this system.

The temperature accuracy is high using this dual laser targeting system. Moreover, you have no device to see the non-thermal contrast of an object or place that you are detecting.

Battery Life

Unlike Flir C3, this Flir TG165 thermal imaging camera has a battery that stands for five hours during laser scanning and measuring. TG165 has the rough and design to withstand the drop from 6.6 feet.

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A user recommended TG165 to a Service/repair plumber when he asked for thermal imaging camera recommendations to find clogs, leaks, and pex piping in walls.
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A user shared his experience with FLIR TG165 when a buyer asked to recommend  FLIR thermal units to pinpoint moisture and hot water lines.
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A FLIR TG165 thermal imaging camera user shared how the camera performed in the home inspection.

Above, the different users of FLIR TG165 Thermal Imaging Camera shared their experience of using the unit for various applications and inspections at both indoor and outdoor.

Have you decided to buy this unit? Then check the complete and lucid overview of the TG165 camera here.

Here is a video shared by a Flir user. It shows the difference between hot & cold tap water, as seen through a thermal imaging camera.

2. FLIR E4 Thermal Imaging Camera

Flir E4 is a compact and handy thermal imaging camera that has all the essential features of thermal imaging with the best-built quality, and it is one of the best cheap thermal imaging cameras available. Check here for the detailed review of the FLIR E4 camera.

FLIR E4 camera

Main Features

  • Brand: FlIR
  • Temperature Range: -4°F to 482°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 80×60 IR pixels to 320 x 240
  • Field of View: 45° x 34°

Why it is ranked #2?

  • Comes with four different resolution options
  • Build with the 3-inch bright and a large display 
  • Fixed focus point requires to adjust the distance
  • Has a high focus distance lens
  • One cheapest option for homeowners

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • High fall resistant
  • Recommended for tough terrains
  • Great features for the money

Image features

With 3 inch display, this thermal vision camera has four resolution options ranges from 80×60 IR pixels to 320 x 240.

Although the resolution does not meet the RESNET standards, it detects the serious real-life problems like insulation gaps, window and door leaks, and overheating electronics.

Unlike Flir E8, this Flir E4 save the thermal images in JPG, so they don’t have any radiometric information. Still, the photos are useful in finding fundamental temperature related issues.

FLIR E4 5
FLIR E4 is being used to inspect the ceiling to check the airflow, temperature, and moisture levels.

Fixed focus point

E4 has set with its focus point, so you will adjust the distance between you and your object to get clear pictures. It is equipped with a lens that is designed to handle the possible focus distance.

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Built quality

This thermal heat camera has two basic measurement modes, such as center spot and area box. It has all intuitive menu controls, and one-hand operation enabled design. This Flir E4 was designed with all other essential characteristics of Flir at affordable prices and engineered to withstand the falls up to 6.6 feet. The basic Flir’s rugged design helps to use it in all rough and uneven areas.

Flir E4 is the best option for those who need a thermal camera with conventional thermal imaging and standard features at a limited budget.

3. FLIR C2 Thermal Imaging System

Flir C2 is entirely a pocket-sized thermal camera with basic specifications that every professional and homeowner need. This version of Flir works well at detecting plumbing issues, leakages, and structural errors.

FLIR-C2

Main Features

  • Brand: FlIR
  • Temperature Range: 14°F to 302°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 80×60 pixels
  • Field of View: 41° x 31°

Why it is ranked #3?

  • Equipped with a 3-inch full vibrant screen
  • Has Wi-Fi capability to transfer files
  • Produce thermal images in 4800 px
  • Comes with LED spotlight
  • Completly pocket-sized camera for professionals and homeowners

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • Undiluted thermal images
  • High sensitivity detector
  • Large field of view

Built Quality

It was equipped with a 3-inch vibrant screen and LED spotlight to detect the problematic areas. C2 copulated with Flir tools reporting software to provide the best performance.

FLIR C2 7
A photocopy machine in the library is captured by the FLIR C2 thermal imager that shows the over heating internal parts of the machine.

Wi-fi capability

Any thermal imaging camera with Wi-fi capability is best for users who will need thermal imaging often. Like other models of Flir, this C2 also has updated with Wi-fi capability to make the data transfer easy and fast.

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Image Quality

It can capture up to 500 radiometric images with temperature information. The thermal sensor used in this thermal camera is capable of producing images in 4800 px. C2 has an MSX image enhancement that adds essential information to the IR image in real-time from the visible light camera. So at the end of the day, you will get the undiluted thermal image with complete visible light information, which clearly shows you where the heat issue is.

FLIR C2 4
The thermal image from FLIR C2 is of high quality that it shows the hairstyle of a girl very clearly.

Sensitivity and Field of View

The high sensitivity detector in the Flir C2 heat image camera captures the exact heat loss or gain and thermal patterns of the problematic places where you need to detect the leaks and overheating. Its 45-degree field of view is one of the advantages of this thermal device. The thermal sensitivity of this thermal imager is 10C.

For further details and qualities of this handheld thermal camera, check this elaborated review of the FLIR C2 camera.

4. Fluke TIS20 Thermal Imaging Camera

Fluke TIS20 has powerful and advanced features than its previous models. Fluke TIS20 and TIS10 are affordable options for buyers who are shopping on a limited budget and need for specific elements of excellent condition. The point and shoot method of Fluke handle thermal imaging in a better way.

Fluke TIS20 9HZ camera

Main Features

  • Brand: FLUKE
  • Temperature Range: -4°F to 662°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 120×90 pixels
  • Refresh Rate: 9HZ

Why it is ranked #4?

  • Comes with Fluke IR fusion technology
  • Has unique Pixel-in-Pixels alignment
  • Build with 3.5-inch LCD screen
  • Uses 10,800 px thermal sensor
  • An excellent option for limited budget buyers

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • Bright and sharp images
  • Moderate frame rate
  • Indicate charge level

IR-Fusion

Fluke IR fusion technology in this thermal camera combines IR and digital images to get sharp images. These digital and infrared images can be analyzed in both on and off the camera using the unique feature of Fluke, pixel-for-pixel alignment. The problems that are unidentified during the thermal inspection can be seen and addressed clearly through this IR fusion technology.

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Fluke TIS20 7
Fluke TIS20 thermal camera used to detect the inner parts of the big machinery to know which part of it causing more heat.

Image Quality

This model uses 120×90 resolution (in total 10,800 px) thermal sensor and 3.5 inches LCD 320×240 resolution. The pictures of Fluke thermal camera are still ranking best among various high-resolution thermal sensors as it has five mp camera and uses the 10,800pixels sensor. The thermal images are directly stored on Fluke Cloud Storage using the Wi-Fi capability.

Built Quality

This version has an LED charge level indicator for the battery to avoid the sudden power loss. The frame rate of this heat image camera is 9 HZ. It has built with one-handed design, intuitive menu, and rugged outlook to withstand the drop rate.

Fluke TIS20 2
The contents included in the package of the Fluke TIS20 thermal camera.

5. FLIR E8: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera

Flir E8 thermal imaging camera is a handheld camera that has a robust design to work great for both home inspections and construction inspections.

FLIR E8 camera

Main Features

  • Brand: FLIR
  • Temperature Range: -4°F to 482°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 320 x 240 pixels
  • Field of View: 45° x 34°

Why it is ranked #5?

  • Meet RESNET standards
  • Stores Thermal, Visual, and MSX enhanced images
  • Captures 500 JPEG images with thermal details
  • Comes with multiple user-defined modes
  • Most recommended handheld camera of today’s market

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • Handheld & lightweight
  • Radiometric images
  • Single trigger operation

Image Quality

The FLIR E8 provides sharp images with 320 x 240 resolutions and exceeds the RESNET standards. Flir E8 is capable of storing Thermal, Visual, and MSX enhanced images in a single trigger. E8 also offers picture-in-picture image processing, the JPEG images shot by this camera can store radiometric information for about 500 pictures.

FLIR E8 7
FLIR E8 captures the heat signatures of a coffee cup as you can see the thermal image that clearly depicts where the temperature is high and low.

Multiple Modes

The multiple user-defined modes are the center spot, area box, auto hot, or auto cold spots. It also has a high-end microbolometer that is essential for any thermal imaging device.

Flir-E8-note

Built Quality

E8 heat sensitivity camera has a large field of view on 3 inches display. The minute temperature and leak detection make this Flir E8 camera perfect in electrical inspection and leak detection. It has a focus-free lens and intuitive button menu navigation to display settings for smooth operation. It also has a Li-ion rechargeable battery, which lasts 4 hours for typical use. The drop rate of this Flir E8 thermal camera is 2meters.

FLIR E8 4
FLIR E8 used for roof inspection where it checks the heat loss or gain, water, and air leaks to ensures if the roofing is safe or not.

Wi-fi

Like Flir C3, E8 also has Wi-fi capability, which you can use with the network or peer-to-peer setup, and it is free from location controls so you can make faster transactions.

Read a full review of the FLIR E8 compact thermal camera here.

6. FLIR C3 Pocket Thermal Camera

Flir C3 Pocket-sized camera is next to C2 in the line of Flir’s thermal imaging cameras. Flir C3 thermal imager is developed with the same functionalities as C2 but with the addition of the Wi-fi option to transfer thermal photos and videos between mobile phones and tablets. C3 works excellent in the field of building inspection by checking the electrical repairs, water leakage, and moisture intrusions.

FLIR C3 camera

Main Features

  • Brand: FLIR
  • Temperature Range: 14°F to 302°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 80×60 pixels
  • Field of View: 41° x 31°

Why it is ranked #6?

  • Comes with Wi-Fi capability for secure file transfer
  • Suitable for electrical damages and water leakages
  • Has MSX image enhancement and Picture-in-Picture option
  • Can store 500 radiometric images of 4800 pixels
  • Build with the 3-inch touchscreen display

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Adjustable measurement modes
  • Easy to operate display

Image enhancements

The C3 model has all features that are needed by the field professionals. The MSX image enhancement feature, picture-in-picture option, various user-adjustable measurement modes, and high resolutions sensor are some of the advanced features of Flir C3.

Built Quality

FLIR C3 is a thermal heat vision camera, with the pocket-sized design so it can be taken and used anywhere. Flir C3 provides a maximum of 500 radiometric images, and the image quality of C3 is up to 4800 PX. This heat sensor camera has 3-inches touchscreen display.

Thermal Sensor

It has a microbolometer with a sensor up to 320×240, which can capture images that are 60feet away maximum. So the temperature measurement range is from 14°F to 302°F.

Here is the complete review of the FLIR C3 thermal camera.

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Wi-Fi capability

That one feature which makes C3 stand different from C2 is its wireless capability. This C3 can connect to mobile phones and tablets wirelessly with the help of a free FLIR Mobile App. This feature helps the building inspectors to share the information with officials and customers.

Hot Spot or Cold Spot

FLIR C3 6
FLIR C3 shows the hot and cold spots of the machine with varying colors based on the temperature level.

Flir C3 heat-sensitive camera has Hot Spot or Cold Spot capability to measure the area of interest quickly. This Flir C3 thermal camera displays the minimum or maximum temperature and the spot meter. This feature helps to find the hottest or coldest areas immediately.

7. FLIR ONE Pro Thermal Imager

Flir One Pro is one of the easiest thermal imagers to use with both iOS and Android, and it is another one cost-effective alternative to the thermal camera. They work the same as the thermal imaging camera but on your mobile phones. You can get most of the installation and further instructions about Flir one pro from online also.

FLIR ONE Pro camera

Main Features

  • Brand: FLIR
  • Temperature Range: -4°F to 750°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 160 x 120 pixels

Why it is ranked #7?

  • Compatible for both Android and iOS
  • Online instructions are available
  • Comes with advanced USB Type-C
  • Has MSX image enhancement technology
  • Intuitive and user-friendly application

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • 5.9 inches drop resistant
  • Easy to install and use
  • High visual resolution

USB Type-C

Unlike most of the top-rated thermal imagers that have a micro USB port, the FLIR One Pro is using the new USB Type-C, which is useful in twisting the camera in all desired directions.

FLIR ONE Pro 2
A smartphone attached with a FLIR One Pro thermal imager shows the heat signatures of wooden roofing.

MSX Image Enhancement

This self-contained dongle thermal imaging camera is benefiting the plumbers with MSX technology that is best for improving the image details. This technology provides clear images that make the job of plumbers so easy.

Flir One App

Flir One App is one of the interactive thermal imaging camera apps that makes the installation part quick and easier for their customers. The app has an intuitive menu structure and offers better performance in images, video, and recording sequences.

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Built Quality

This rugged premium class thermal sensor has 5.9 inches as their falls survive measure and make with a sturdy protective case. The thermal sensitivity of this Flir One Pro thermal camera is up to 150mK.

High Resolution

The FLIR One Pro thermal vision camera provides 1440×1080 optical resolution with 160 x 120 thermal resolution. It also has VividLR image processing to produce sharp and crystal clear thermal images.

The other way to use thermal imaging on the phone is to use thermal imaging phones. If you look for the one, Caterpillar CAT Thermal Imaging Smartphone is one best thermal imaging phone in the market now.

8. Seek Thermal Reveal Thermal Imaging Camera

Seek Thermal Reveal is an entry-level thermal imaging gadget that has both thermal imaging technology and LED lighting in one single device. This thermal imaging camera is designed to work in the fields of real life, such as construction, building, and capturing the pets in the dark.

Seek-Thermal

Main Features

  • Brand: SEEK
  • Temperature Range: -40°F to 626°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 206 x 156 pixels
  • Fresh Rate: 9 HZ

Why it is ranked #8?

  • Has Thermal imaging with LED lighting
  • Built with an ergonomic grip and rubbered surface
  • The equipped battery offers 10 hours of operation
  • Comes with 300 lumens LED light
  • Measures heat up to 500 feet

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • Multiple user modes
  • High battery life
  • Intuitive menu and app

Built Quality

The rubbered surface and ergonomic grip with the angled head makes the process of targeting and watching the display easier. Seek reveal thermal camera is powered by a battery that can last up to 10 hours.

Seek Thermal 3
Thermal image of a group of people sitting captured by Seek Thermal. Different colors used to show temperature variations.

Camera features

This thermal imaging camera offers a 36-degree wide field of view and it’s capable of scanning the area where you’re for detecting the issues. Seek thermal imager has a thermal sensor of 206 x 156 pixels resolution.

LED light and Sensitivity

The 300 lumen LED light avoids the need of torches in the low illumination areas. With the single touch, Seek thermal reveal camera can detect the objects and measures the heat up to 500 feet.

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Multiple Modes

Seek Thermal 2
Seek thermal captures images of three people in the grayscale mode.

The auto-detection and auto-emission modes of this thermal imaging camera detects the areas where most of the objects emits the same amount of heat.

User-defined controls

Seek reveal thermal device is single-hand operated, which has user-defined control with intuitive menu navigation structure to set the settings and for more advanced features.

Direct SD card storage

The thermal drawings acquired by this heat sensitive camera will directly store on the SD card used in the thermal imager.

9. FLIR TG56 Spot Thermal Imaging Camera

This Flir TG56 is one of the best infrared thermometers to use in ventilation, motors, bearings, transformers, fuses, diagnosing AC units, fuses, bad electrical connections, and other applications that need temperature data which can be detected by Flir TG56.

FLIR-TG56

Main Features

  • Brand: FLIR
  • Temperature Range: 22°F to 1202°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 0.1°C / 0.1°F

Why it is ranked #9?

  • An excellent choice for home applications
  • Comes with work lights and laser points
  • Has customized low and high alarms
  • Developed as premium grade industrial design
  • Measures up to 3 meters

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • Unique work light
  • New customized alarms
  • Industrial quality and design

Work Lights and Laser Pointers

FLIR TG56 3
The laser pointer on the wall from FLIR TG56 shows where to detect the temperature.

FLIR TG56 thermal heat camera has developed with work lights and laser pointers. Even though the laser pointers are familiar with most of the Infrared thermal cameras in recent times, the work light is unique and helps to use it in dark places.

User-defined Alarm

This Flir TG56 heat-sensitive camera also equipped with customized low and high alarms and adjustable emissivity. Based on the type of surface for what you are measuring, the emissivity is adjusted. The user-defined alarm system is helpful if you have fixed outsets to keep.

Built Quality

TG56 is a one-hand operated thermal imager with premium-grade industrial design and rugged outer shell. The drop resistance of TG56 measures up to almost 10 feet(approximately 3 meters) and have no-tool-needed simple battery placement.

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Non-contact surface temperature

This Flir thermal imaging camera offers non-contact surface temperature readings to take the measurements in out of reach places quickly. With a 30:1 distance-to-spot ratio, this heat image camera measures the area of interest from an applicable distance.

New mode options

The New mode options in this heat vision camera enable you to see the last two radiation details with current reading together.

The color screen and Graphical menu

The TG56 sensor camera has a color screen and graphical menu structure for easy navigation and better visibility.

10. Seek Thermal XR Imager

If you want a budget option to the thermal imaging camera and want to convert your mobile phone into the thermal camera, then this Seek Thermal Imager will be the right choice. The Seek Compact XR thermal imager is an add-on device for mobile phones (Android and iOS). It built with the thermal technology that has been using in military and field professionals and has the high-temperature range to capture the clear thermal images from the distance that is multiple of the regular thermal camera.

Seek-thermal-compact

Main Features

  • Brand: SEEK
  • Temperature Range: -40°F to 626°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 206×156 pixels
  • Refresh Rate: 9 HZ

Why it is ranked #10?

  • Budgeted option for mobile thermal imaging
  • Detects heat up to 1800 feet away
  • Has 206×156 pixels thermal sensor resolution
  • Doesn’t need to charge separately
  • Comes with waterproof carry case

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • Detect large distance
  • High thermal sensor resolution
  • Charged from mobile power

Seek thermal imaging camera uses are mostly in the real-world. These thermal cameras accurately detect the water and heat leaks inside the pipes, heat loss, and gain around doors and windows. The cold and hot spots of grill and griddles also can be checked. You can use this thermal imager to find irregular activities of unwelcomed animals and humans at your lawn or backyard.

Seek Thermal XR 4
Seek Thermal XR connected with the smartphone shows the thermal image of the toaster with hot spots.

Extended Range

Basic thermal imaging models offering capture range of thermal images from up to 1000 feet away, but the Seek XR thermal heat camera does it from up to 1800 feet away. It is a profoundly leading one among other thermal imagers for android.

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Built Quality

The thermal sensor used in the seek XR thermal imager offers the thermal image resolution 206×156 pixels, which is the higher resolution rate than any other thermal imaging camera for Android and iOS.

This Seek thermal imaging camera doesn’t need any batteries as they use the attached mobile phone as a power source.

Threshold Settings

Anyone can create an optimal image that matches the thermal image that you need to capture with the help of threshold settings of this XR thermal imager. The threshold settings emit the temperature that exceeds or below a certain point. This compact XR thermal imager comes up with the waterproof carry case for the camera to protect from any unexpected fall.

You can get a more detailed review of Seek Thermal Imaging Camera here.

11. FLIR T620 Professional Thermal Imaging Camera

FLIR T620 is professional thermal imaging camera that is perfectly designed to aid professional hunters, electricians, and technicians. FLIR has a colossal name and market in the thermal imaging and night vision industry. 

FLIR cameras, scopes, binoculars, monoculars, goggles, thermal imagers, and even smartphone apps are very popular for home maintenance, HVAC, hunting to check the technical aspects of massive machines in industries, and sighting the prey in the critical game hunting.

flie t620 thermal camera

Main Features

  • Brand: FLIR
  • Temperature Range: -40°F to 1202°F
  • Portable: YES
  • Resolution: 640 x 480 pixels
  • Field of View: 25° x 19°

Why it is ranked #11?

  • Durable design for professional hunters and technicians
  • Stores Thermal, and Visual enhanced images
  • Captures MP4 videos and JPEG images with thermal details
  • Comes with manual and automatic focus modes
  • Highly professional and premium quality thermal camera

What Makes This Camera Stand Out

  • Premium and Industrial features
  • Switch to Visible Light Spectrum
  • High Thermal Sensor Resolution

Image and Video

The refresh rate of this high-end professional thermal imaging camera is 30Hz, so you get the fluid video of your target even from long distance. The recorded videos are saved as MPEG-4 and images as JPEG files on the mini SD card, which is removable. 

Image Enhancements

FLIR T620 has Picture-in-Picture mode. Using this, you can draw thermal images on the visible light images to know the exact hot/cold spots. Mostly, HVAC inspectors use this feature to see where heat loss exists. 

You can move to visible light mode anytime and capture images of 5MP resolution. Wi-Fi feature of the camera allows the users to transfer the files to other devices and video streaming. You also get Bluetooth connectivity for wireless file transfer.

Onboard Features

Other onboard features that come with this industrial thermal camera are laser pointer/locator, voice/text annotation, and built-in LED illuminator.

The lithium-ion battery powers this FLIR T620 thermal camera and offers almost 2.5 hours of operation time.

The only downside of FLIR T620 is that the camera doesn’t come with a greater field of view option but it can be compensated by its 1-4x continuous digital zoom.

Image and Video

The refresh rate of this high-end professional thermal imaging camera is 30Hz, so you get the fluid video of your target even from long distance. The recorded videos are saved as MPEG-4 and images as JPEG files on the mini SD card, which is removable. 

Image Enhancements

FLIR T620 has Picture-in-Picture mode. Using this, you can draw thermal images on the visible light images to know the exact hot/cold spots. Mostly, HVAC inspectors use this feature to see where heat loss exists. 

You can move to visible light mode anytime and capture images of 5MP resolution. Wi-Fi feature of the camera allows the users to transfer the files to other devices and video streaming. You also get Bluetooth connectivity for wireless file transfer.

Onboard Features

Other onboard features that come with this industrial thermal camera are laser pointer/locator, voice/text annotation, and built-in LED illuminator.

The lithium-ion battery powers this FLIR T620 thermal camera and offers almost 2.5 hours of operation time.

Things to Know Before Choosing a Thermal Camera

Before choosing the cameras, you should have complete knowledge about how to use a thermal camera properly and what are all the other similar technologies available in the market.

What is an IR Thermal Imaging Camera?

Based on body temperature, every object in the universe emits infrared energy and that emitted heat or infrared energy is stored as  signature of heat. This emitted energy increases based on the body heat of an object.

A thermal imager, often called Thermal imaging camera or Infrared Camera, is a heat vision sensor that uses thermal imaging technology, which can detect minimal differences in the temperature without any ambient light even in extreme darkness.

The temperature camera receives the overall heat energy from the objects in the scene and produces an electronic image based on the collected temperature information.FLIR T5 Screening Image

A T540 handheld thermal camera from FLIR is used to check if the person has elevated body temperature.

Other thermal devices like thermal scopesthermal monocularsthermal imaging goggles, and thermal binoculars are also working based on this technology.

A thermal image camera can detect each object in the scene and create different thermal images based on temperature abnormalities such as heat loss or gain in the objects and living beings that may hide in the view.

These heat-sensitive cameras are used to figure out the temperature differences in living beings and heat leaks in buildings and electronics.

There are thermal imaging security cameras used in homes and industries to ensure safety. They also used in army and hunting.

Did you know?

Thermal cameras are massively used to monitor the temperatures of any living things, and now due to COVID-19, the demand for these cameras is increased, FLIR is the most demandable product.

The use of thermal cameras is increased at checkpoints or handheld personnel at borders, airports, businesses, schools, and other places to ensure if the people are free from a highly infectious virus.

FLIR’s permanently mounted, handheld thermal imaging cameras and thermometers are mostly being used now. 

In the current situation, FLIR is demanded by governments to increase their T-series products that are handheld and A310 thermal imaging cameras that are permanently mounted.

It is a non-contact thermometer, such as IR200 is also in high demand as it perfectly checks whether the person has any signs of fever by pointing the forehead.

thermal imaging for coronavirus

In India, a television studio used a thermal camera as a preventive action to COVID-19.

Difference Between Normal Camera and Thermal Camera

normal camera vs thermal camera
Difference between the pictures taken by Normal Camera and Thermal Camera.

Difference Between IR Camera and Thermal Camera

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Difference between Infrared Camera and Thermal Camera pictures.

How Thermal Imaging Camera Works

how thermal imaging works
The working principle of Thermal Imaging Camera.

Pictures Taken By Thermal Cameras

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Man caught on Thermal Camera.
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Thermal Image of a Woman.
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Bats clicked by Thermal Camera.
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Dog’s funny pose to Thermal Camera.

Various Brands Available for Thermal Camera

How much does a Thermal Camera cost

You have many valuable thermal imaging cameras within $1000, whereas you also have the thermal cameras that offer basic thermal imaging features for as low as $250.

The thermal imaging add-ons for mobile phones are available from $100 to a maximum of $500. The best thermal imaging camera brands such as Seek, Flir, Fluke, and Dewalt are pricing up to $3000.

Why are thermal imaging cameras so expensive?

The thermal imaging cameras are available in different price ranges according to the features they have.

Apart from the essential functions such as the temperature range and sensitivity, thermal imaging camera cost varies concerning the infrared resolution, multiple modes, touchscreen display, battery life, and other advanced special features they have equipped with.

Based on the cost of a thermal imaging camera, you can divide the brands into two classes.

  1. Thermal cameras with advanced features and a wide range of benefits that cost high.
  2. Thermal cameras that have basic thermal imaging features that cost less.

Renting VS Owning

Below are some of the advantages of owning and renting a thermal camera.

Advantages of Renting

The most common reason why people are renting a camera is “It’s cheaper.” If you have a limited budget and will need a camera for very particular uses, then you can rent a camera from the best Renting companies. The rented thermal camera offers you the same qualities and features that an owning one will provide but for a short period.

Another advantage of renting is you can try out different brands and products with which you will get the experience and knowledge about the thermal camera and what are all the features you are requiring. This renting experience will help when you planned to own a thermal camera.

Advantages of Owning

If you are a frequent user of the thermal camera for your regular home inspections and any repair jobs, you could own a camera instead of renting it adequately.

Owning a thermal camera will help in any emergencies. Imagine that you feel a sudden temperature increase in your darkened basement, and you are not sure what would be the cause. In this case, you can’t take the risk of getting into the cellar only with a torch, here you will need a thermal camera at least to have the guts to look around.

So these are all the advantages of renting and owning a camera. You have to decide based on how often you will need it and how much you can afford.

What Are The Types Of Thermal Imaging Camera?

The thermal imaging cameras classified into two different categories depending on the temperature they require for working, such as the thermal cameras with cooled infrared detectors and the uncooled infrared detectors.

Cooled Detectors

The cooled thermal imaging cameras require cold temperatures for operation. The temperature can be 4K or below to get benefitted with the infrared sensor. Using this type of camera will offer you crisp and clear images with high quality. However, they are a bit expensive and bulky.

Cooled thermal
This picture shows a speedy capture result of a tire rotating at 20mph captured by the cooled detector.

Uncooled Detectors

The uncooled detectors require an environment with room temperature to operate. They do not necessitate additional equipment for working. The clarity of the images produced by these detectors is low when compared to the cooled detectors images. But, these are cheaper than the cooled detectors.

uncooled thermal
This picture proves the uncooled detector has a low capture rate when capturing the rotating tire.

Irrespective of their type, both the cameras use a single color channel for visualization. They reproduce the object with different shades of colors to denote the temperature of the particular thing or body. They represent the warmest parts of the object with bright colors, usually white.

The areas that are not hot will represented with yellow and red colors. Further, the places with the coolest temperatures represented in the darker color shades, particularly black. It also displays the color scale depending on a particular temperature.

The difference between cooled and uncooled thermal imagers in various fields and applications explained here. For further technical details about the types of thermal cameras, check out this Wiki page.

Handheld Thermal Imaging Camera

Thermal imaging cameras are available in different shapes and sizes. The handheld thermal camera helps to do the thermal survey for a long time just by holding them in one hand. The look of the device is similar to the Infrared Thermometer, which is used to find the body temperature.

K 90 Talisman

Jan. 26, 2013, Atlantic Ocean, Navy Petty Officer Schuyler Spencer looks through the viewfinder of a K-90 Talisman Handheld thermal imager…Read more

Handheld thermal imaging cameras mostly used in home inspections, wildlife, mechanical units, and electrical.

These devices have simple user controls on the front and allow the user to access and detect the surface or object easily in one hand.

Some of the compact thermal cameras like Seek Thermal Reveal Thermal Camera have a small size and stored in the palm.

What are the Applications of Thermal Imaging Camera

Using a thermal imaging camera can provide you with numerous applications in various fields. Below are some of the uses of the thermal imaging camera.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Building

The capabilities and features of thermal imaging cameras help the building inspectors to carry out the most of the building and construction analysis quickly without damaging the environment, unlike the other meters, such as moisture meter, which do slight damage to the materials to get the precise measurements.

thermal imaging for building
Thermal Image of a Building

Most of the people started using thermal imaging for a home inspection also because they are useful and helpful to know the excess heat loss and gain inside the rooms and garages.

The water flow in the plumbing system also detected by these thermal cameras. USGS (United States Geological Survey) uses thermal imaging cameras for locating groundwater as per this report.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Electrical

The thermal imaging cameras do wonder in detecting temperature problems and electrical deficiencies. With the particularly thermal cameras for electrical inspection, you can recognize the component damage and excessive heat or cold in the electrical systems that are used from simple domestic purposes to complicated industrial systems.

thermal imaging for electrical
Thermal Image of Circuit Board

Thermal imaging cameras for PCB inspection helps you find where the hotspot in the circuit board, and you can use remote to control certain types of cameras during an automated review.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Firefighting

Thermal imaging devices also used in life-saving activities like firefighting. The thermal camera can help the firefighter to see through the darkness and detect the high flaming fire in a place.

thermal imaging for firefighters
The firefighter is using a thermal camera to detect the hotspot

They used this to check the body temperature of the trapped person in dark rooms or areas. A Thermal imaging camera for firefighters can be mounted to the helmet of firefighters to see the objects in thermal imaging without the help of hands.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Wildlife

thermal imaging camera for wildlife enables the user to see through the darkness, other climatic changes, and natural camouflage of animals to find and follow them without disturbing their environment.

Thermal imaging is effective for hunting, and the thermal cameras are the best tool to have in outdoor activities, from hunting an animal to just tracking and viewing them in the dark outdoors. These cameras also used to check for the problems in wild areas. For Example, NASA has developed a wide area thermal imaging system to identify forest fires from a great distance with 100% accuracy. 

thermal imaging for wildlife
Thermal picture of a wild animal at dark

When we talk about thermal imaging for animals, we can’t ignore Equine thermal imaging. These Equine thermal imaging devices are used to find injury parts and how deep the injury is in the horse. It is one of the best cost-effective tools used for Equine health and treatments.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Drone

A thermal imaging camera for the drone is one of the powerful tools that can be used in rescue operations, wildlife, fire service, and an aerial view of any darkest places. Thermal drones with a vision camera are also working as same as a usual thermal camera like detecting the objects with their radiation.

thermal imaging for drone
Thermal camera in the drone shows the heat image of a building

US national library for medicine uses thermal cameras in the reconstruction of the lower limb after skin cancer surgery.

Some of the other thermal camera applications are detecting the heating parts of complex mechanical devices, finding heat loss or gain in the skin, veins, and other body parts of animals, and doing non-contact temperature analysis of electrical tools.

It also helps security and police officers to trap and find the criminals in critical climatic conditions.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for HVAC/R

Just as with the regular electrical and mechanical applications, today’s thermal cameras with simple use and affordable prices become available tools to use on other applications such as HVAC/R (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration) industry.

thermal imaging for hvac
                    A thermal camera sees the HVAC airflow.

Thermal imaging cameras for leak detection are now used to find the leaking pipes, improper circulations in engine radiators, pipe disconnections on floor heating systems, defects in electrical and mechanical parts, poor airflow, and temperature diffusion in the frozen cabinets.

HVAC/R unit is used to ensure a safe environment in terms of humidity, ventilation, and temperature. It is needed by an occupant to live in a pleasant atmosphere with health and comfort and also make sure the health of the building and reduce energy costs.

In energy surveys, checking surface temperature becomes a significant part as the surface temperature value can help to find the current condition of the building, HVAC/R, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical.

Hence, blocks in pipes, air leakage, structural deficiencies behind the walls can be detected and recorded using a thermal imaging camera. 

Now, the periodic maintenance of the HVAC/R unit becomes usual in many industries where they developed various strategies to monitor all the functions of units from piping, plumbing, motors, radiators, engines, and bearings.

A thermal imaging camera for the HVAC/R system is easy to use and provides understandable pictures about where the issues are.

It is vital if you are working on HVAC/R, and you need to prove your customer that you have solved the temperature problems. Some of the various applications of thermal imaging cameras on the HVAC/R system are listed below.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for HVAC

Thermal Imaging Cameras for Roofing

In the roofing industry, thermal imaging technology helps to find the wet insulation in the flat roofs and fasten the search of the leak source.

thermal imaging camera for roofing 1
A thermal imaging camera detected the hotspots of insulation in the roofs.

Infrared camera for roofing is an excellent way to find the problematic wet areas in roofing systems. It minimizes the cost of replacing the entire roofing system by detecting the heat spots or leaking areas and allowed to fix those particular areas — infrared scanning for roofing system able to quickly estimate the durability of the roof without destructive testing.

Why Thermal Imaging for Roofing is Important

Let look into the valuable reasons why thermal imaging for the roofing system is essential.

» Safety

The roofing system can get corrode or damage due to the moisture, which will compromise the structural integrity of the roof. The rusted roof affected by the hidden trapped moisture would be a severe safety problem for workers working on the roof.

» Damage to other systems

The roofing system with water intrusion also damages interior parts due to leaks. With no wait, this will affect the other electrical and mechanical systems in the building.

These roof leaks also hit the contents of the building and collide the operations. The strong formation of mold is possible in the roofing system because of the trapped moisture.

» Cost Savings

The replacement of the roofing system is expensive. The regular infrared monitoring of the roof is a cost-effective way to check the roof for health and issues. As thermal scanning is easy to use and takes less time, it helps to repair the parts quickly and avoids the replacement.

How Roof Thermal Imaging Works

Thermal imaging camera spot the heat energy generated by the moisture in the roof and project the different radiations levels. When compared to other parts of the roofing system, this trapped moisture takes time to cool, so they are visible on the infrared camera.

Thermal imaging cameras detect the heat energy radiated from the roof surface and other surrounded objects in real-time. The IR thermal camera identifies the heat signatures over surfaces by detecting the IR radiation of objects and processes it into visible light.

Types of Thermal Roof Imaging

Thermal roof imaging should be done on the right conditions to get accurate results. Based on these conditions, there are two types of Thermal Roof surveys.

⇒ Warm Weather Scans

Warm weather scan used to check the temperature difference between wet and dry roof insulation.

This scanning process usually held after the sunset. The roof gets heated by the sun during the day. Thus, the wet insulation also warms. After the sunset, except for the wet areas, the other dry regions get cooled. So you can see the wet areas as ‘hotspots’ on the thermal camera.

⇒ Cold Weather Scans

Cold weather scan is usually done on an early morning before the sun heats up. This survey is held to find the difference between outdoor and indoor temperatures.

Wet roof insulations have a thermal conductivity higher than the dry insulation, so when the inner building is warmer than the outer, the wet insulation will pass more radiation out of the building than the dry roof insulation.

Thermal Imaging Cameras for iOS

Thermal imaging for iOS devices is possible with Special Thermal Imagers that can be attached to the smartphones and accessed via mobile application. The first thermal imager for smartphones was FLIR ONE, which is the mobile add-on device that is applicable in Android and iOS devices like smartphones and tablets.

After FLIR, Seek thermal imagers are popular among users using thermal imaging on phones. Though these thermal imagers are not as perfect as the fully-featured thermal cameras, they can provide accurate thermal detection for the home inspection.

Both FLIR One and Seek Compact available under $300, which confuse their customers about which one to pick for their job.

flir one pro thermal camera

FLIR One Thermal Imager

Pros

  • It has both a digital camera and a thermal sensor. So you can overlay the visible light photo with the thermal image to get the detailed picture.
  • It has Panorama and time-lapse features.
  • FLIR One app has a lot options and controls for the device, including sharing and processing.

Cons

  • FLIR One has a useful overall temperature range of -4°F to 248°F, but it is less than Seek.
  • FLIR One has a thermal sensor resolution of only 80 x 60 px.
seek xr thermal camera

Seek Compact Thermal Imager

Pros

  • It has a wide thermal range from -40°F to 626°F.
  • Seek includes a waterproof hard case.
  • The thermal sensor in Seek compact provides a resolution of 206 x 156.
  • Seek Compact get powered from the phone charge.

Cons

  • Seek does not have overlay features, and no imager can match the image clarity of FLIR One.
  • Seek Compact lacks the digital camera lens of the FLIR One.

What Are The Criteria That Should Be Met By The Best Thermal Imaging Cameras?

As there are various features and capacities built with a thermal imaging camera are varying brand to brand, selecting a particular camera becomes a complicated task. However, you have to look into some basic specifications before buying a thermal camera for any purpose.

Image Modes

The first work of thermal imagers is to produce the thermal image of a suspected object. A few years back, most of the thermal cameras have come with an ability to provide only the visual images, which can help in identifying the defect in a particular location. But now the thermal cameras have comprised a unique mode called the fusion mode, with which you can obtain both the thermal and the visual images, and it will help in identifying the problem and get the clear temperature information about it.

Picture Quality or Resolution

As the thermal imaging cameras are used to identify the defect or fault in a particular area, having a clarified picture with quality is essential. The resolution determined with the help of the Focal Array Plane sensors present in the thermal camera that are not available in the digital cameras and measured in pixels.

Purchasing a thermal imager with low resolution will result in a visual image that looks similar to the one from the digital cameras. Most of the thermal imagers offer a picture resolution capacity of 120×120 or 140 × 140 in terms of pixels. The best thermal imager will provide a resolution for 180×180 pixels, thereby providing accurate images that are useful for detecting even the minute defects.

Screen and Display

Most of the cameras come with a screen size of about 3 inches, which is good, but the camera that has a screen size ranging between 5- 7 inches in size and is highly capable of displaying images with higher quality. Higher the screen size, greater the accuracy, and enables easy identification of the problems and defects. We recommend display size no smaller than 3 inches.

The next important thing about the display is the refresh rate. In general, the thermal imagers come with a refresh rate of 9 Hz and 60 Hz. Choosing the 9 Hz thermal camera is not a bad idea though the thermal camera, which comprises the 60Hz refresh rate, is the best option as it enables proper focus.

Accuracy and Sensitivity

The thermal imaging cameras, with their infrared detector arrays, are capable of offering accuracy with temperature sensitivity up to 0.1°C, which is useful in detecting more accurate information. However, thermal imagers with the -20°C to 350°C temperature sensitivity and delivers precise measurements are considered extraordinary.

User-friendly

Usually, the cameras can be operated using the buttons and triggers that they built with. A user can navigate through those menu buttons to the required function or operation they wish to perform.

The standard cameras may constitute only a few buttons and make the functioning get complex. In contrast, the best thermal cameras will constitute of several buttons with an intuitive menu, each of which is coded to perform a specific operation and are capable of navigating quickly to the desired functions.

Battery

The capacity of the battery to hold power, as well as the availability of the spare battery, is quite essential criteria to be considered. A thermal imager’s battery should be easily removable and replaceable when it runs out of power. We would not recommend going with thermal cameras with inbuilt batteries that cannot be removed and result in depending upon the power cord or circuit.

When the battery dies, it took to a service shop and check for the availability of the replacement. But, the best thermal heat camera will have the removable Lithium-Ion battery and is readily available for replacement and holds power for a maximum of 5 hours.

Durability

Thermal cameras, regardless of the field they are used in, has to be less in weight and compact to be held in a single hand. Only then, the user will be capable of using it for a more extended period.

Further, the cameras should also come with a dust-resistant cover and should have an exterior made of materials that offer grip to hold it in continuous working hours.

Image Format

The format that the image gets stored in the camera is important to look at while purchasing the camera. Generally, the thermal imaging cameras use two types of image formats; JPEG and BMP.

The BMP image formats will strip down the temperature information to preserve them and for sharing separately. In the cases of purchasing a camera with a BMP image format, you will have to face compatibility issues as most of them require software to convert them into the readable form. It will make the process of sharing complicated and tedious. But, those with the JPEG format are compatible with almost all the devices as it can be transferred and shared easily when at the workplace itself.

Image Storage

When in work, you will require downloading more and more images of visual, thermal, and fusion types. The best thermal imaging camera with a higher resolution consumes more space, which will, in turn, hang the device when the memory gets filled. It will result in cleaning up space often.

But with using a camera that has more than enough memory for storage will reduce the strain of deleting the files often to create space.

Visibility

The thermal imagers should be capable of producing pictures under any lighting conditions to be the best product. In the case of low luminosity or darker areas, using a camera without proper vision will not help in identifying the defects accurately. So, the best thermal imaging camera brands have come up with the option of including the thermal illuminator light, which will help in providing pictures with clarity.

In A Nutshell

The thermal imaging cameras are such equipment that use thermal imaging technology to visualize the defects in the pile systems, wiring, or any other places. They have a wide range of applications in almost every field. Thermal imagers have detectors and to which the temperature they are capable of working with depends on upon.

When purchasing a thermal image camera for usage, you have to consider all the above factors and choose the one that has the most reliable qualities. Consider purchasing a product only according to your needs and necessities, which will prevent you from spending extra bucks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes thermal imaging cameras useful?

Unlike other cameras, the thermal imaging camera can differentiate the temperature range. So that it could be used to find the objects in hidden and dark places. It will produce a different thermal image with the temperature data for each object in the scene.

How thermal imaging cameras work?

The thermal sensor detects the IR radiation from an object in the heat vision camera. To provide the temperature data in the human-readable form, it converts the temperature of objects into different shades of color based on the level of hotness and coldness.

Do thermal imaging cameras work in fire and thick smoke?

Yes, they can detect the objects in any climatic conditions such as rain, fog, darkness, smoke, and dust. So these cameras are served the security thing for firefighters, security professionals, police officers, and law enforcement legal.

Can a thermal imaging camera see through the wall?

No, thermal cameras cannot see through walls, but if the object is causing the irregular heating condition of the wall or heating wall or cooling the wall, it can allow you to see the indication of the problem creating objects behind the wall.

What is the best Thermal imaging camera for a drone?

Thermal drones are a kind of aerial thermal device which uses vision imaging cameras to detect the temperature of almost all objects and things and convert into thermal photos and video with essential thermal data. We would recommend FLIR Vue Pro R as the best thermal imaging camera for the drone.