5 Best Thermal Cameras

After studying a number of thermal cameras which are the best available on the market, we found out that the winner among the five that got shortlisted is FLIR E8-NIST Compact Thermal Camera.

The Winner

FLIR E8-NIST Compact Thermal Camera – Top Choice for Durability

FLIR is one of the leading manufacturers of thermal cameras and has quite a range of thermal cameras with various features to their name. The FLIR E8 is designed to be very compact yet it comes with a number of features that are synonymous with Hi-Tech thermal cameras.

In spite of its lightweight nature, it is highly durable and can withstand falls up to 6.6 feet. The FLIR E8 has excellent image quality as one of its main perks as well as thermal precision.

  • Rechargeable lithium batteries with a battery life of up to 4 hours
  • Thermal accuracy of 2 degrees and temperature range of up to +250 degrees
  • Possesses increased thermal sensitivity up to .06 degrees
  • Highly lightweight weighing only about 1.27lbs

Thermal cameras come with a special ability to literally see what other cameras cannot see. This is why the use of thermal cameras has little or no restrictions as it is constantly in high demand for a wide range of uses and purposes.

Apart from the fact that they are extremely powerful and pretty cost-effective, they also serve as a go-to troubleshooting tool at any time they are required.

With a view nearly as sharp as that human vision, they help to detect issues such as moisture intrusion, energy loss source problems alongside structural faults and mechanical issues.

Top 5 Thermal Cameras Comparison Table

ImageProductPrice
Editor's Choice
FLIR E8-NIST Compact Thermal Camera
FLIR E8-NIST Compact Thermal Camera
  • Rechargeable lithium batteries with a battery life of up to 4 hours
  • Thermal accuracy of 2 degrees and temperature range of up to +250 degrees
  • Possesses increased thermal sensitivity up to .06 degrees
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For Android & iOS
Seek Thermal Compact
Seek Thermal Compact
  • Comes with chalcogenide lens
  • Detects temperature ranges from -40 to 626 degrees F
  • Compatible with iPhones
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HTI@XT Infrared Thermal Imager
[email protected] Infrared Thermal Imager
  • Comes with 3.2" full-color display screen shows thermal detection and visible light imagery in 220 x 160 resolution
  • An in-built memory card of 3 gigabytes for storage of files
  • Weighs only 0.83lb making it suitable for carrying around
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FLIR C3 Thermal Camera with Wi-Fi
FLIR C3 Thermal Camera with Wi-Fi
  • Captures up to 500 radiometric images
  • Comes with WiFi connectivity and operating temperature range of 10 to 50 degrees Celsius
  • Spectral range of 7.5 to 14 micrometers
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PerfectPrime Infrared Thermal Imager
PerfectPrime Infrared Thermal Imager
  • It has 220 x 160 pixels creating detailed thermal images of hot and cold leaks, electrical faults to various hidden heat issues
  • Comes with image adjusting feature that enables users to align visible and infrared light images
  • Comes with 3 Gigabytes integrated memory
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Best Thermal Cameras Detailed Review

Selecting the best thermal cameras on the market could take quite some work seeing that there is a very large number available on the market. Of this astounding number, there would, of course, be a number of purchases which would be a clear mistake.

In order to help you prevent purchase mistakes, we have come up with a list that comprises the first best thermal cameras available on the market presently. Here is the listing:

1. FLIR E8-NIST Compact Thermal Camera – Top Choice for Durability

The FLIR E8 thermal camera comes with a number of amazing features including superior IR resolution which far exceeds RESNET standard.

A number of measurement modes including center spot, area box, auto hot or auto cold spots alongside a lightweight but rugged casing make for one quality product.

A rechargeable lithium battery and a focus-free lens also serve to make the FLIR E8 compact thermal camera a great choice. The durability of this camera is due to the fact that it is IP54 rated.

Key Features

  • Comes with 76,800 pixels thereby exceeding RESNET standards
  • Rechargeable lithium batteries with a battery life of up to 4 hours
  • Thermal accuracy of 2 degrees and temperature range of up to +250 degrees
  • Possesses increased thermal sensitivity up to .06 degrees
What we like
  • Very impressive image resolution
  • It is very lightweight making it easy to carry around
  • Easy to operate
  • MSX image enhancement technology for clear images

What we don't like
  • Does not come with WiFi feature
  • Lacks voice annotation and touchscreen
  • Does not have a very wide temperature range

Verdict

Thanks to the essential features that the FLIR E8 thermal camera possesses, it is pretty suitable for use in professional lines and useful for DIY enthusiasts as well.

Its battery life guarantees that it can be used for a period of time which would be useful in cases whereby the problem isn’t on the surface.

In addition, its durability is almost not in question making it a great piece when it comes to thermal cameras.


2. Seek Thermal Compact – Best Choice for Professionals

The Seek Thermal Compact is a very extraordinary piece of technology with diverse uses. One of its features is that it is compatible with smartphones – all that is required is for you to connect it to your smartphone and the image displays on the smartphone screen.

This compact camera is indeed compact as it weighs only about 7.8 ounces and has a size large enough for only a 36-degree viewing area. In spite of this, it still possesses the ability to capture images as far as 1000 feet away.

Key Features

  • Comes with chalcogenide lens
  • Detects temperature ranges from -40 to 626 degrees F
  • Compatible with iPhones
  • Weighs only about 7.8 inches and offers up to 36 degrees viewing area only
What we like
  • This camera is very compact and portable – easy for transporting on the go
  • Can make use of smartphone battery guaranteeing longer usage time
  • Shows up to 9 colors when displaying temperature
  • Easy to operate and is pretty cheap too

What we don't like
  • It isn’t very compatible with Android phones
  • A lack of seek registration could result in an inability to access your camera
  • Some users have complained that the size makes it very easy to lose

Verdict

In terms of portability, the seek thermal compact camera isn’t lacking. In spite of its small size, it still comes with a number of great features including its compatibility with smartphones.

This feature is very essential in the field especially in cases where an image needs to be seen clearly on a larger screen.

With a waterproof case and a guarantee of durability, this might be exactly what you need if you are conscious about the size.


3. [email protected] Infrared Thermal Imager – Best Choice for Clear Viewing

With a screen size of 3.3 inches, the [email protected] Infrared Thermal Imager displays high-resolution images that are hard to come by on other cameras. Apart from showing vivid picture colors, it also allows you to choose between 5 colors to use for implementation. It weighs less than one pound but is great for use in a range of work situations.

Key Features

  •  Comes with 3.2″ full-color display screen shows thermal detection and visible light imagery in 220 x 160 resolution
  • An in-built memory card of 3 gigabytes for storage of files
  • Weighs only 0.83lb making it suitable for carrying around
  • Up to five different colors to choose from for image implementation
What we like
  • A high-level resolution that allows for clear imagery
  • Inbuilt storage for keeping video and audio files in the event of future reference
  • Useful in a wide range of work situations
  • It is very easy to operate

What we don't like
  • It may not work with all computers
  • Some users have complained about difficulty with downloading images
  • Some users have also complained about the 5-color restriction

Verdict

For a very wide range of professional tasks as well as basic home leakages or faults, [email protected] Infrared Thermal Imager is great for detecting such faults. Thanks to its high-level resolution, images can be seen almost crystal clear and in a number of colors too. Touted for spotting discrepancies that could be missed by other cameras, [email protected] Infrared Thermal Imager could be just what you are looking for.


4. FLIR C3 Thermal Camera with Wi-Fi – Top Choice for Portability

The FLIR C3 Infrared Thermal Imager with WiFi is designed to be your carry-along tool for various inspection jobs. This slim camera fits very easily in the pocket and can be brought out to be used at any time.

One of the few cameras with WiFi feature, it allows you to connect instantly to mobile devices in order to upload recorded or captured images. Its temperature determination features also make it a great choice.

Key Features

  • Captures up to 500 radiometric images
  • Comes with WiFi connectivity and operating temperature range of 10 to 50 degrees Celsius
  • Spectral range of 7.5 to 14 micrometers
  • Center spot or Area Min/Max allows you to do a quick measurement within a defined area box
What we like
  • Comes with WIFI feature that allows for easy and quick sharing of files to mobile devices
  • A very portable size that makes it pretty easy to slip in your pocket
  • Captures very high-resolution images
  • It is pretty easy to operate

What we don't like
  • The camera only works when there is a thermal difference
  • Some users have complained about the small screen size
  • Some users have complained that they began to get funny lines on their screen after a while

Verdict

In the aspect of portability, the FLIR C3 Infrared Thermal Imager with WiFi is not found lacking at all. This portability in conjunction with other features such as the WiFi connection feature makes it great for both DIY enthusiasts and professionals. In addition, its spectral range guarantees that you get great images, making it a great choice all in all.


5. PerfectPrime Infrared Thermal Imager – Budget Pick

PerfectPrime Infrared Thermal Imager remains one of the best on the market when it comes to thermal cameras. Apart from delivering images in high quality or resolutions, it allows you to get your images directly in JPG.

Also, it is designed to be suited for professional use and home functions as well. As a form of a topping, PerfectPrime Infrared Thermal Imager provides an overlay that allows for a combination of thermal visions with normal vision.

Key Features

  • It has 220 x 160 pixels creating detailed thermal images of hot and cold leaks, electrical faults to various hidden heat issues.
  • Comes with image adjusting feature that enables users to align visible and infrared light images
  • Comes with 3 Gigabytes integrated memory
  • Saves pictures in JPG format allowing you access and transfer them very easily
What we like
  • This camera is relatively cheap, yet it still has great features
  • Comes with rechargeable batteries for extended usage
  •  Up to 3 Gigabytes of storage for saving files for future reference
  •  Great for both professionals and amateurs

What we don't like
  • Some users have complained about the noise that it makes when producing IR images
  • Comes without lanyard making it pretty easy to drop
  • Some users claimed that the camera and screen are low definitions

Verdict

It is expressly stated that PerfectPrime Infrared Thermal Imager can be used by both professionals and DIY enthusiasts or amateurs, which implies that it is easy to operate.

As a result, this is one of the few thermal imagers that can be purchased by just about anybody. If you are looking for a thermal imager for either professional or home purposes, this could be suitable for you.


thermal imaging inspection of heating equipment

How to Choose the Best Thermal Cameras – Buyer’s Guide

Of all the thermal cameras available for purchase on the market, there would definitely be one that is best suited to the purpose you need it for. Similarly, there would be a number that is not advisable to purchase.

However, where the issue lies in determining which one of the large numbers available is best suited to what you need a thermal camera for. In order to get the best there is, you need to know the indicators or features that best thermal cameras have which make them stand out from the rest.

This is a comprehensive guide to helping you select the best, come along on this ride.

1. Thermal Camera Price

This is one factor that cannot be overemphasized when purchasing any product on the market. Typically, price consists of a very major factor in purchase decisions stemming from the clear fact that your budget determines what you get.

There are a number of thermal cameras with various price ranges. These prices range from hundreds of dollars to a couple thousand. Therefore, if you have a budget that restricts you the “hundreds” section, then cameras that cost thousands are clearly out of the question.

This implies that you would have to settle for the best that you can get within your budget limits.

2. Screen Resolution

The screen resolution of your thermal camera plays a very important role in determining how much satisfaction you get from using it.

Cameras that come with high resolutions allow you to see images with higher clarity. And it guarantees that you are able to distinctly identify everything that you are seeing on the screen. Similarly, if it is a systemic problem, you can easily identify the actual source without a lot of stress.

Inexpensive cameras usually come with lower resolution small screens that only help you get a general idea of the problem without seeing clear images. Basically, they function using just the temperature differences present in the scene.

3. Thermal Precision

The thermal precision of IR cameras mainly deals with the sensitivity and temperature ranges of these cameras. Basically, the sensitivity of a camera determines how well it would be able to detect the changes in temperature within a particular space.

This principle works on the basis that a lower number implies that the camera would be better at detecting the smallest temperature changes. Most cameras range from between <.05 degrees to <.15 degrees.

Although this difference is a pretty minute, a lower sensitivity could make all the impact that you need. Most of these cameras, therefore, come with an ability to detect between -20 degrees Celsius to 1,200 degrees Celsius.

4. Storage

It is very important for every thermal imaging camera to have reasonable storage space for storing images and videos recorded during the course of work. Most of the cameras available on the market make use of microSD or SD cards for storage purposes.

One of the most important factors to take into consideration is the storage size or space that a camera is compatible with. This can be determined by checking the user manual.

Typically, it is advisable to go for a camera that has a high compatibility feature in order to avoid having to deal with or move stuff to clear up space.

5. Weight and Durability

The weight of your thermal camera is very essential as it would clearly decide your ease of movement when making use of it. A lot of people prefer to go for thermal cameras that are pretty portable and easy to carry around.

While this may be a great choice, there’s a number of very portable cameras that lack some essential features you’d need. Also, if your camera is too heavy or bulky, it would be pretty difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.

This is why you need to strike a balance in terms of size, but while doing this, you would also need to keep the features in mind.


engineer checks temperature of electrical cabel

Thermal Cameras Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Thermal Cameras Work?

Thermal cameras work on the basis of heat emitted from objects within the subject area. Basically, every object has its own heat signature. That’s why you can’t use it to measure through glass or even the heat inside a building. This feature allows thermal cameras to measure the amount of heat loss from structural gaps.

What is the Difference Between Thermal Cameras and Night Vision Goggles?

Thermal cameras make use of the heat emitted by an object and measures it. They usually do not require visible light to operate. Night vision goggles, on the other hand, make use of the light present in the area and then enhances it to provide a clearer image of objects.

What is a Thermal Profile?

Thermal profile refers to the temperature of a particular object relative to the temperature of other objects around it. Basically, the warmest object usually appears white while other objects appear as greyish color or some other color.


Criteria We Used for Best Thermal Cameras Review

In order to effectively select the best thermal cameras on the market, we made use of a number of factors which include the following:

1. Budget

We clearly understand the fact that not everyone has the same amount of money to spend on thermal cameras. However, everyone still wants a thermal camera for various purposes.

Therefore, the best concession would be to look for the best thermal cameras which would fall into different budget categories. This implies that everybody gets a thermal camera that they can afford to buy and everybody is happy.

In spite of the price differences, we still ensured that we got only the best on the market, although some of the features vary. In summary, we compiled our best thermal cameras in such a manner that there is something for everyone.

2. Features

The features of any equipment clearly define the equipment itself; the features make it what it is. This is why we ensured that all reviewed thermal cameras had all the features necessary for working on various projects that you might have in mind.

In addition to this, we rationalized that the more features that a camera has, the more functions it would be able to perform.

Features sure as thermal precision, storage capacity/compatibility, wavelength, screen resolution, eventual image quality among others were taken into consideration when we were making our decision.

Thermal Imaging Supervision of Oil Refinery

3. Reviews

Selecting the best thermal cameras without going through the reviews posted by people who have bought and used them would be very foolhardy. These are people that have had firsthand experience using these products over a period of time, therefore, their opinions would be golden and authentic.

This is why we went through every review posted including the positive and negative ones in order to know the hidden flaws that the manufacturers would definitely not included. After doing this, we confirmed which of the reviews were right and tell the ones that were wrong.

On this basis, we eliminated a number of thermal cameras and retained the ones that we are certain that you would get value for your money on.

4. Ease of Use

Irrespective of how any features a piece of equipment might possess, if it isn’t easy to use or operate, buyers would have a very hard time getting value for their money. While selecting thermal cameras based on the factors mentioned above, we also ensured that the thermal cameras, despite the many amazing features that they might possibly have, be very easy to use.

Since thermal cameras see also used by DIY enthusiasts, it would be essential that the ones we selected would be pretty easy to use without requiring a lot of technical knowledge or having to study a special manual.

5.  Durability

Often times, thermal cameras are used in construction cases whereby there is a probability that equipment might drop. This is why it is essential that thermal cameras be of the highest quality, are made from suitable materials and are highly durable. This remains one of the main factors that guided the eventual selection of our top 5 thermal cameras on the market. We also looked out for thermal cameras that have significant warranties.

This is because manufacturers who know that their products are not of very high quality rarely ever put significant warranty periods. Since there is a certain guarantee that the product might get faulty very early in the usage time.


Conclusion

Thermal Cameras are usually in very high demand due to the fact that can see in places where the naked eyes cannot get to. However, over the years, professionals and DIY enthusiasts have had difficulty selecting the best thermal cameras and that is why we put this guide together.

With a list of the 5 best thermal cameras available on the market alongside a buyer’s guide for helping you through your own personal purchase, you should never be at a loss when it comes to buying the best thermal camera on the market.

Similarly, the frequently asked questions section provides answers to questions you might have and our criteria for review would give you an insight into selecting the best thermal cameras as well.

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