Top 11 Best Imaging Cameras 2019

Thermal imaging cameras have come a long way after they were introduced in the Korean War.

In fact, because of their versatility, professionals from different fields have embraced this technology. Electricians, hunters, firefighters, adventurers, architects, inspectors, contractors, and auto mechanics are just a few of the people who find thermal imaging cameras very vital to the effectiveness of their work.

Naturally, every object releases infrared heat to the surrounding. The heat an object release is its signature of heat. The amount of heat an object emits may vary depending on a few factors.

Now, a heat imaging camera is a special tool that uses advanced technology to detect temperature change patterns of an object and converts them to visible light on the display.

Unlike the other conventional cameras, thermal imaging cameras can ‘see’ in total darkness and through solid objects such as walls.

Their unique ability makes them a must-have tool when firefighting, inspecting for leaks in new construction and HVAC systems, checking to see if people are hiding in a building, and many other uses.

Obviously, just like other conventional cameras, you need to go for a top model to ensure that you get accurate and better results.

Here is our compilation of Top 11 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras you should not hesitate to add to your shopping cart!

Top 11 Best Imaging Cameras

#1FLIR E4: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera

FLIR

Ushering us to our top-notch thermal imaging cameras is this model by FLIR. The camera comes with a thermal resolution of 80 x 60. Although this is not the highest rating we have seen in the market, it remains the most exciting deal you will get for the price. In fact, this resolution is adequate for most home operations such as electrical and HVAC inspections. The camera employs the FLIR MSX technology to ensure incredible thermal imaging detail.

FLIR E4 camera is solidly constructed and can withstand accidental falls when still maintaining its integrity. Although rugged, the device has a lighter weight than most competitors to make it easy to carry around when checking for leaks and hotspots.

The built-in Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to connect it with your smartphone through the Flir Tools Mobile App. With this feature, you can share your inspection reports to your client instantly without having to organize for a physical meeting. For easy modification of settings, FLIR E4 thermal imaging camera has intuitive buttons for easy operation.

What we like:

  • The resolution is amazing.
  • It has increased sensitivity.
  • It suits nearly all home applications.

What you may not like:

  • The software may be troublesome.

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#2 FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera

FLIR

Also coming from FLIR, this model is can handle a wider range of applications with great precision. The camera comes with the innovative Lepton IR Imaging engine and a thermal resolution of 60 x 80 (4800 pixels) to ensure that you get a crisp display. The sensitivity of 150Mk and the refresh rate of 9 Hz are also a plus.

Furthermore, whether it is you are new to thermal cameras or a whiz, this model features an intuitive design for anyone to use without necessarily undergoing special training; simply fire up the unit and you are ready to get to work! The spot size ratio of 24:1 provides an adequate safe distance to avoid risks when taking measurements.

Also, this detector can measure temperatures up to 380oC from a safe distance. The 8GB Micro SD Card provides plenty of space for your captured images. But just in case you want to send or create detailed reports, you can connect the device with your smartphone through the USB in seconds.

The solid construction means that the machine can stand up to everyday abuse at the job site while the smaller size will nests nicely in a crowded tool bag- a perfect option for a busy technician!

What we like:

  • The settings are very user-friendly.
  • It is compact.
  • The camera comes with rugged construction.

What you may not like:

  • The resolution of 60 x 80 is not the best you will get in the market.

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#3 PerfectPrime IR0005 Thermal Imager & Visible Light Camera

Perfect Prime

Whether you are an electrician, homeowner, a hobbyist, or a real estate investor, this thermal imaging camera will help you to pinpoint easily problem areas so that you know the specific area where you should direct your efforts. The premium-grade camera has a high resolution of 35, 200 pixels to ensure that you get clearer thermal images when conducting an inspection.

PerfectPrime IR0005 thermal imager has a larger display of 3.2″ for better visibility of results. The accuracy level of – +/- 2 % or +/- 2°F guarantees you with precise results no matter the application. The integrated 3GB memory provides enough space to save all your files in JPG format. Also, transferring the files to your smartphone is a breeze via the USB connection.

The camera comes in a compact design for easy pocketing to enable the user to handle other goods. The lightweight design minimizes operator fatigue to allow comfortable use over prolonged use. When you compare the buttons of this model to those of other models, you will realize that they are large.  The larger size makes it easy to use even when wearing gloves.

What we like:

  • The small size is easy to pocket for portability.
  • The rounded edges offer improved ergonomics.
  • The display is larger.

What you may not like:

  • It does not come with the least price in the market.

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#4 220 x 160 IR Resolution Infrared Thermal Imager

HTI@XT Instrument

This inspection tool also has a large display of 3.2 inches for larger thermal imagery. The IR display resolution of 220 x 160 ensures high definition images. The camera allows you to select the ideal color for your task from the five available options; white and black, cold color, rainbow, and iron red colors.

Additionally, the accuracy of within 2oF makes it an ideal choice for applications such as archaeology, firefighting, home inspection, real estate, electronics, manufacturing, and other areas where high precision is needed. Also, for the sake of the dedicated professionals always on the go, this device only weighs 0.83 pounds to not slow you down.

The lighter weight also permits hours of comfortable use by reducing hand fatigue. The gun-like shape pairs with the ergonomic handle to provide an excellent grip and allow you to use at any angle. The built-in 3GB memory allows you to store your records in the standard JPG format while the USB lets you transfer them to your handset.

For efficiency, the model also features an automatic power-off time which will turn the unit after selectable 5 or 20 minutes of idleness so as to save on energy. But just in case you want the unit to remain on, you can turn this feature off from the settings panel.

What we like:

  • The resolution is pretty impressive.
  • The price is reasonable.
  • It gives a fast response.

What you may not like:

  • It does not have an auto-save function. Therefore, after taking a picture, you have to select every time whether to save or discard.

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#5 Seek Compact Thermal Imaging Camera

Seek Thermal

This model by Seek Thermal remains the most famous inspection tool in the market. Although the model comes with a lower price, it outshines some expensive models on several features. This thermal imaging camera has a high resolution of 206 x 156 pixels and a frame rate greater than 9 Hz to ensure that you crisp images that are easy to understand.

The commercial-grade camera lets you find and fix problems relating to energy loss, water damage, and other issues that you cannot identify through a naked eye. The detector measures -40 to 626F hence can suit a wider range of applications at home and industrial environment. The broad spectrum of color palettes lets you customize your experience while the ability to display temperature in three different modes provides better convenience.

The standalone design means that the camera doesn’t require batteries or charging. Instead, the camera displays the results on the screen of your phone through the Free Seek Mobile App. The waterproof carrying case provides proper storage to the device when not in use and lets you carry it almost anywhere with ease.

What we like:

  • The temperature range is bigger for versatility.
  • It can detect hot spots and leaks from as far as 1000 feet to give you a larger safe distance.
  • The 36-degree angle suits indoors and limited outdoor applications.

What you may not like:

  • The software requires you to first register in the iSeek website which can be time-consuming especially for the busy technicians.

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#6 FLIR E8: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera

FLIR

This tool features a sturdy construction that will suit both home inspections and construction applications. The high resolution of 320 x 240 not only meets the stringent RESNET standards but also surpasses them to ensure that you get a sharper and clearer display in every project.

The Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging technology makes it super-fast to identify, analyze, and draw conclusions to problems without compromising the radiometric data. This is because the technology quickly detects the area where the problem is in the thermal image by highlighting using numbers, letter, and textures. You will never have to compare the thermal and the digital images when pinpointing a problem!

The user-friendly design allows you to personalize the settings using the intuitive user buttons while the Wi-Fi connectivity to smartphone and tablet through the FLIR Tools Mobile App allows you to share timely reports faster from any location. The intuitive buttons allow the user to personalize the settings of the tool and access the saved JPEG images with ease. The rechargeable battery gives up to four hours of continuous use whereas the drop rate of two meters is an indication that is ruggedly constructed.

What we like:

  • The three color palettes provide enhanced user convenience.
  • It is portable.
  • Has temperature range of from -4° F to 482° F makes it versatile.

What we may not like:

  • It is pretty expensive.

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#7 Seek Thermal Revealpro Imaging Camera

Seek Thermal

One impressive feature about this troubleshooting tool is that it has a very high resolution of 320 x 240. With this resolution, you will be able to see where exactly there are problems such as energy loss, water damage, electrical and manufacturing issues, and other heat-related and leakage issues. I mean, this gadget will work for contractors, engineers, electricians, and DIY homeowners alike.

The 32o field of view is large enough to suit indoor applications and some outdoor tasks. To enjoy great versatility, you should consider buying a thermal imaging camera that has a wide temperature range. And yes, this model has a temperature detection range of -40F° to 626°f. Therefore, the device will highlight the problematic areas in nearly any project. The rechargeable lithium battery is also long-lasting to give you hours of uninterrupted use.

The nine color palettes give you unprecedented convenience while the frame rate of above 9 Hz improves the display. Although a thermal camera doesn’t need light to work, the user needs light for safety when operating in dark or poorly lit conditions. With this in mind, this model comes with a 300-lumen LED light so that you will never operate in the dark again.

What we like:

  • It can measure objects up to the maximum range of 500 feet away.
  • It comes with a rubberized casing.
  • It gives a sharper image.

What you may not like:

  • It does not come with a carry case.

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#8 Perfect Prime IR0018 Infrared Thermal Imager Camera

Perfect Prime

This thermal camera combines an ergonomic design with a super-sensitive thermal sensor to allow the user to detect and measure heat spots for troubleshooting. The industrial-grade unit lets you capture high-definition images for reporting purposes. The accuracy of the tool renders it an ideal option for identifying fire spots in thick smoke. For the sake of electricians, this device will let them detect the hotspots arising from faulty wiring allowing them to do the necessary to ensure safety.

The IR resolution of 220 x 160 (35, 200 pixels) combines with the large screen display of 3.2 inches to allow you to see sources of problems with clarity for detailed analysis. Also, it has a wide temperature range of -20 to 300 °C / -4 – 572°F to suit multiple applications.

The internal memory of 4GB gives you plenty of storage spaces to keep the photos you capture when troubleshooting. Additionally, the user-friendly interface means that you will not necessarily need anyone to train you on how to use it. The variety of color palettes enables you to view objects with different color modes.

What we like:

  • It comes with an informative manual which is also very clear.
  • It has different color palettes.
  • The camera comes in a nice package.

What you may not like:

  • It does not have a built-in Wi-Fi

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#9 FLIR C3 Pocket Thermal Camera

FLIR

This thermal camera has a smaller size that will fit in the pocket so that you can carry it anywhere with ease. The device comes with a hand-friendly design for comfortable handling when in use. The Wi-Fi enabled tool utilizes MSX technology to deliver clearer and real-time images in stunning clarity.

The 4800 pixels allow you to capture thermal images and measurements from a significant temperature range. In other words, this model works best in both home applications as well as some professional applications such as in construction sites and HVAC systems. The three-inch display makes the problem areas more visible on the screen.

The Wi-Fi Connectivity technology lets you transfer the generated reports from the device to the mobile platforms without the need for a physical connection. Therefore, you can share the results of the inspection to the officials and clients instantly when still in the construction site. The various user-adjustable measurements add operator convenience. The durable Lithium-ion battery powers the device for hours of continued use. After the battery goes out, you can recharge it via the USB port.

What we like:

  • It only weighs 4.8 ounces.
  • The tool has a very high sensitivity.
  • It is easy to download the images.

What you may not like:

  • The resolution of 4800 pixels is not the best.

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#10 Hti-Xintai Thermal Imaging Camera

Hti-Xintai

Just in case you are looking for the most versatile thermal imaging camera in the market, this should be one of the best deals for you. The high-quality device is designed to suit almost any maintenance application ranging from mechanical, HVACR, facility maintenance, building diagnostic issues, facility maintenance, and other applications.

The camera delivers clearer images with a resolution of 35, 200 pixels and the 2.4-inch screen display. The five color palettes mean that you can view the images of the target object in a rainbow, cold color, iron oxide red, white heat or black heat color for more detailed display. After capturing the report, you can share the images to the computer or smartphone to facilitate the generation of detailed reports.

Hti-Xintai Thermal camera also has intuitive icons which makes it more straightforward to use. However, just in case you want to be sure of what you are supposed to do, it comes with an explicit manual that provides comprehensive steps on how to customize the settings and to perform basic operations.

What we like:

  • It is energy-efficient.
  • The measuring accuracy of ±2°C/±2% means that it gives reliable reports.
  • It has an automatic shut-down feature.

What you may not like:

  • It may not come with a tripod as indicated.

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#11 Fluke VT04 Infrared Imager

Fluke

This pocket-sized tool pairs the convenience of a spot thermometer with the visual benefits of an infrared camera to show a clear heat map of the potential issues. The device allows you to capture images at selected intervals or when the temperature alarm is triggered after the temperatures rise or fall beyond the user’s selected range.

The center measurement box lets you focus on the image without measuring the background of the image; simply ensure that the target object fills the center box on the display. Fluke VT04 has a 28° x 28° field of view which makes it the ideal option for confined spaces. The easy-to-understand interface means anyone can use it straight from the box without undergoing any special training. The unit comes with an SD card which holds a maximum of 10000 images per Gigabyte.

What we like:

  • It is an ideal entry-level device.
  • The 4GB Micro SD card provides enough storage space for pictures.
  • The detector comes with batteries for straightaway start off.

What you may not like:

  • The readings may at times differ by about five degrees.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Why do thermal imaging cameras work better at night?

During the day, the sun irradiates objects making them hot. Therefore, when it’s daytime, any object hit by the sun will act as a heat source. However, at night there is no sun. Therefore, the things that will show up are those that are emitting their own heat, making it better for the thermal camera to work at night than during the day.

Which is better thermal or night-vision?

Personally, I would prefer the thermal imaging camera to the night-vision device. This is because the thermal imaging camera can work in complete darkness unlike the night-vision camera will need some little illumination such as moonlight. Also, the night-vision type is not safe to use during the day since the tube can be easily burned when exposed to much light. However, the thermal imaging camera works perfectly whether night or day.

Is thermal imaging accurate?

The imaging accuracy of these cameras is not 100%. However, most of the thermal imaging cameras have an accuracy level of up to 98%. Therefore, although they may not give the actual results, you can still rely on the readings.

Final Verdict

From the review, you can easily tell that thermal imaging cameras are very versatile and important in almost any field. However, this does not imply that every model out there is perfect for you. To know the right choice for your project, consider the accuracy level, thermal resolution, detection range, field of view, portability, and price. The reviewed models pack some of these impressive features and are available in a wide price range. Therefore, be sure to examine each model keenly before you make the final decision.

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