Drones have become more and more popular as our technology continues to advance. Now, drones with thermal cameras serve a large variety of purposes that help us today in many ways. Thermal applications such as wildlife monitoring, firefighting, and even weather forecasting are now that much easier thanks to the use of thermal cameras.
Coming out on top in our review of thermal drone cameras is the DJI Zenmuse XT2. It embodies resolution and field of view options to support the depending field of view size you need. As well as offer heat tracking and temperature alert features to catch every slightest temperature change.
The Top Thermal Drone Cameras Reviewed
[table responsive=stack id=59 responsive=stack /]
Find the right Thermal Drone Camera for You
This thermal drone camera is the best option if you’re looking for something that gives more than just temperature readings. The DJI Zenmuse XT2 thermal camera has both the 640×512 and 336/256 resolution, though this model only comes in a radiometric version. DJI has an array of Field of View options to choose from to best suit your purpose.
With DJI heat tracking and temperature alarm, the ZT2 can be fine-tuned to focus on particular temperatures and alert you when those changes occur. Zenmuse XT2 then allows you to capture those moments as an image or video in crisp, clear 4k HD without worry. As this thermal camera has a weatherproof rating of IP44. Meaning it’s protected against solid objects bigger than 1mm and water splashing from any direction.
The DJI Zenmuse XT is a more simplistic version of the XT2 thermal drone camera we just talked about. Like the XT2, this model comes with both 640/512 and 336/256 resolutions but then also opens up the option for a radiometric or non radiometric camera.
The DJI Zenmuse XT is designed with an MP4 camera to record important moments you don’t want to miss. This thermal drone camera is also equipped with multiple color modes, including rainbow, black-hot, and white-hot, to display temperature differences to best fit whatever circumstance.
This thermal drone camera is perfect if you’re looking for a camera with thermal vision capabilities and a splash of night vision. The Yuneec CGOET has a dual-purpose 1080p camera that not only allows video and image recording but acts as a low light camera that can monitor in twilight and dark environments. In addition, both thermal and colored pictures can be simultaneously recorded.
Never worry about getting the perfect angle with Yuneec’s designed 3-axis gimbal, capable of a continuous 360° rotation. Though this thermal camera only has a non radiometric version, it’s able to detect certain heat differences. Modify the CGOET’s heat tracking feature to recognize particular temperatures and focus on those areas.
The Yuneec E10T is a great option to consider if you’re looking for a particular resolution for your thermal camera. With the E10T model, Yuncee gives the option for either the 640/512 or 366/256 resolution. This thermal drone camera is capable of complete 360 rotation thanks to its 3-axis gimbal, as like the CGOET.
Various Field of View options are available for Yuncee to choose from, like DJI’s thermal drone cameras. The Yuneec E10 comes with various color palettes as well. Pick from black/white-hot or rainbow to ensure you see every detail. The downside of this thermal camera model is it physically outweighs the others on this list, weighing at 13 oz. Something to keep in mind that could drag the overall weight of your drone and affect it’s flying abilities.
The FLIR Duo Pro is a thermal drone camera with features to catch the eyes of any firefighter or search & rescue personnel. It comes with helpful additions such as a barometer, used to forecast short term changes in weather, and gyroscope to keep your picture consistently steady. Along with a 3D accelerator and magnetometer as well, all these features come together to support the use of image geo-tagging with the FLIR Duo Pro.
Capture thermal and RGB images with the FLIR Duo Pro anywhere, with an altitude capacity of up to +38,000 feet and 4k camera. FLIR designed this radiometric thermal camera model with a variety of Field of View and Hz options to choose from to fit your intended use. Though if you’re needing a more light-weight camera, then this 11.5 oz camera may not be your best choice.
The FLIR Vue Pro R is the drone camera to go with if you’re just looking for a straightforward thermal camera. As with the FLIR Duo Pro, this model also accompanies a list of Field of View and Hz options to pick from. This radiometric thermal camera also has two resolution options; 336×256 and 640×512.
Aerial perspective knows no bounds with Vue Pro R’s +40,000 foot altitude capacity and lightweight design. This camera comes in weighing at 4 oz, the lightest in our review of thermal drones cameras. The Vue Pro R supplies multiple color palettes to see the specifics of your view no matter the situation.
Thermal Drone Camera Buying Guide
What to Look for When Buying Thermal Drones
Picking between quality thermal drone cameras can prove to be pretty challenging. Considering the features ordinary drone cameras offer, on top of the hefty expense thermal functions add up to, you want to make sure you get exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s our buying guide for thermal drone cameras, explaining important aspects of thermal drone cameras.
The most common resolutions thermal cameras come in are 160×120, 336×256, and 640×512. The higher the resolution, the higher the number of pixels on the camera’s screen, therefore, producing a clearer image. For search & rescue, game management, or other public safety uses the 640×512 would be the better choice as it gives a larger field of view.
Noise-Equivalent Temperature Difference (NETD), measures all the tiny temperature differences a thermal imaging camera can detect. Thermal cameras with a low NETD will pick up smaller temperature contrasts and provide higher resolution images with increased accuracy. Thermal sensitivity is measured in milliKelvins (mK). Cameras are more sensitive to values at the low end of the scale. For example, cameras with 50 mK are about 4 times as sensitive as a camera with 200 mK. The more sensitive (50 mK) cameras provide a wider temperature difference, resulting in more colors on the thermal display.
Radiometric vs. Non-Radiometric
When using a radiometric thermal camera, you’ll get the temperature data and measurements for every single pixel on the screen. Making it perfect for search & rescue, building inspectors, or game management. Where a non-radiometric thermal camera only produces the thermal image itself.
Field of View
The Field of View(FOV) of a camera is the measured area of space that is visible through its lens. The lens size option you choose and the device’s resolution will have a major effect on your camera’s FOV. Most DJI and FLIR thermal cameras offer various FOV and lens size options to choose from and best suit your purpose. A wide FOV would be more ideal for those intending to use one for search & rescue or firefighting.
FAQs for Thermal Drone Cameras
How Far Can You See With Thermal Imaging?
What’s the Difference Between 9Hz and 30Hz Frame Rate?
The 9Hz is great for most inspection uses as thermal images are gathered which are then analyzed to check for faults or abnormalities. For search and rescue (SAR) having the 30Hz is ideal since you are scanning for movement.
Any of the thermal drone cameras listed in our review would make a great addition to your aerial surveillance set up. But if we had to pick one, it would definitely be the DJI Zenmuse XT2 considering its 4k HD camera and heat focusing capabilities.
Whether you’re looking for aid in your firefighting career or just to entertain a hobby, we hope our review of the best thermal drones helped you get an idea of the perfect thermal camera to accompany your purpose.