Thermal imaging is growing in popularity thanks to advancement in technology and reduction in prices of technological devices.

There are different uses of thermal imaging technology, from leak detection and home maintenance to hunting during a dark night. This made it a superstar in various fields due to the variety of aids it offers.

The thermal cameras are mostly used for checking operating temperature of electronics and machines to help in detecting issues and malfunctions. Being able to see behind the walls and detect cold and hot temperatures, this tool enables you to prevent possible problems in various machines and equipment.

The wide variety of thermal cameras, however, has made it difficult for buyers to identify the best thermal cameras in the market.

That being said, we will be looking at some of the 5 best thermal cameras in the market together with important factors you need to consider. Also, don't forget to click the buttons below to see their best deals on Amazon.

Best Thermal Cameras Comparison & Rating

Thermal Cameras

Features

FLIR E8-XT - Handheld Infrared Camera - with Extended Temperature Range, MSX Image Enhancement Technology, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth for Instant Data Sharing - (320 x 240)
  • 320x240 resolution
  • 2-hour charging time and 4-hour operating time
  • 640 by 480 visual light camera
FLIR E75-24 Advanced Thermal Imaging Camera with 320 x 240 IR Resolution and 24 Degree Lens
  • 320x240 thermal sensor
  • FLIR’s MSX technology
  • 30Hz refresh rate
FLIR E4 Compact Thermal Imaging Camera with 80 x 60 IR Resolution and MSX
  • MSX technology
  • high-image quality
  • effective in determining issues in HVAC systems, electrical outlets, heating leaks, etc. 
Seek Thermal CompactPRO – High Resolution Thermal Imaging Camera for iOS
  • android or iPhone compatible
  • 320x240 resolution
  • crisp and clear thermal images
FLIR ONE Pro - iOS - Professional Grade Thermal Camera for Smartphones - with VividIR and MSX Image Enhancement Technology
  • smart watch compatible
  • jpeg file and MP4 format
  • 1440 x 1080 display

1. FLIR E8-XT - Handheld Infrared Camera

FLIR E8-XT - Handheld Infrared Camera - with Extended Temperature Range, MSX Image Enhancement Technology, Wi-Fi & Bluetooth for Instant Data Sharing - (320 x 240)
Specifications:
96% Overall

Brand

FLIR

Dimensions

3.7 x 9.6 x 5.5 inches

Weight

1.27 pounds

Material

Plastic

97%
durability
96%
performance
96%
Value for money
95%
Ergonomics
Pros:
  • The resolution of this camera is more than 320x240 that is more than adequate for any home inspections and all the commercial inspections. The resolution ensures it offers crisp and clear pictures that will help you to spot any issues with ease.
  • Comes with a 640by 480 visual light camera that is used in producing MSX images.
  • Well-designed for everyday commercial users and it is perfect for building electricians, inspectors, maintenance technicians and other professional fields that depend on a thermal camera.
  • Excellent choice for any serious homeowner who has lots of projects that require quality thermal cameras.
  • Operating time of the battery is 4 hours of continued use and it has a charging time of 90% that takes only 2 hours when it is placed on a charger.
Cons:
  • Due to its price point, they had to cut back the refresh rate.
  • Has a very low temperature range since its 482°F limit does restrict some of the commercial uses of E8.
Final Take:

FLIR E8-XT is among the best thermal cameras in the market today. It comes well-fitted with a rugged drop proof body together with a leading industry 2-5-10 warranty from FLIR. This ensures it is able to withstand daily use. Its 320x240 thermal sensor translates to 76,800 pixels together with a FLIR’s patented MSX technology which blends the visual images with thermal images offering you clear images.  Its resolution is above the RESNET resolution standard that is important for home inspectors.

2. FLIR E75-24 Advanced Thermal Imaging Camera

FLIR E75-24 Advanced Thermal Imaging Camera with 320 x 240 IR Resolution and 24 Degree Lens
Specifications:
94% Overall

Brand

FLIR

Dimensions

4.6 x 4.4 x 11 inches

Weight

2.2 pounds

Material

ABS

96%
durability
94%
performance
94%
Value for money
93%
Ergonomics
Pros:
  • Comes with a 320x240 thermal sensor that offers high resolution that is combined with  FLIR’s MSX technology that helps in blending the HD 5MP and thermal visual images from the visual camera together.
  • Its class II laser distance meter helps in ensuring accurate and fast temperature data measurements.
  • The camera’s 30Hz refresh rate (frame rate) ensures that you are in a position of capturing images using little to no blur even when you move the camera fast.
  • Its 4 inch 640x480 resolution display has touch screen capabilities that are more than adequate for clear display of thermal images on the color screen.
  • You will be in a position of making voice notes, store reports in customizable work folders, and automatically tag GPS locations on the images.
Cons:
  • It is quite expensive for someone who is on a tight budget
  • Although the battery life is around 2.5 hours that is not that great, it is still more than enough for most tasks.
Final Take:

Experts do require accurate measurements and flexibility which this FLIR E75 offers.  This camera is part of the new commercial thermal cameras that have managed to replace their older E-line. It offers interchangeable camera lens options, thermal sensitivity, great thermal range and a new touch screen display. Its high temperature range makes it possible for one to see the differences in temperature across all the machinery.

3. FLIR E4 Compact Thermal Imaging Camera

FLIR E4 Compact Thermal Imaging Camera with 80 x 60 IR Resolution and MSX
Specifications:
93% Overall

Brand

FLIR

Dimensions

3.7 x 5.5 x 9.6 inches

Weight

1.27 pounds

Material

ABS

95%
durability
94%
performance
93%
Value for money
91%
Ergonomics
Pros:
  • Despite having a low resolution when compared to what other thermal cameras offer, the resolution is still enough for leak detection, building inspection and for commercial jobs.
  • Well-designed to help reveal any underlying issues in the HVAC systems, electrical outlets, heating leaks, etc.
  • Uses MSX technology that helps in ensuring the camera produces high resolution radiometric images.
  • Has a very high image quality that ensures clear images are produced that will make it possible for you to spot a problem and deal with it effectively.
  • A very powerful thermal camera that can be used for both home and semi professional tasks such as plumbing issues, electronics and other building and mechanical applications.
Cons:
  • The lithium-ion battery is not that great when compared to what the other thermal camera batteries have to offer.
  • The resolution is not that high.
Final Take:

FLIR E4 is a very versatile thermal camera that comes with a decent thermal resolution. Although its 80 by 60 resolution is not the highest, it is adequate for different application types from HVAC inspections to electrical and home inspections. This FLIR E4 is an excellent thermal camera in terms of price and can easily be afforded by most buyers. There is a new FLIR E4 version that comes with WIFI connectivity although the resolution is still the same. It uses FLIR's MSX technology that helps in blending thermal images with visual images allowing for more detail in your images.

4. SEEK Thermal CompactPro

Seek Thermal CompactPRO – High Resolution Thermal Imaging Camera for iOS
Specifications:
92% Overall

Brand

Seek 

Dimensions

0.8 x 0.6 x 1.6 inches

Weight

12 ounces

Material

Plastic

94%
durability
92%
performance
91%
Value for money
91%
Ergonomics
Pros:
  • The 320x240 resolution is impressive for a cheap thermal camera that attaches to your smartphone. The resolution ensures detailed and crisp images which make it easy to identify issues faster.
  • Can be connected directly to your android or iphone while all the thermal images are displayed on the screen of the device.
  • Makes use of your phones’ power source hence, the operating time will depend on how much you use it.
  • Perfect thermal camera for people who are interested in investing in a good thermal camera without having to break the bank.
  • Can be used in checking for leaks around the windows, inspecting power outlets and home maintenance.
Cons:
  • Its low refresh rate leads to blurry images especially when moving the camera quickly.
  • Comes without reporting software that is responsible for making reports along with the thermal images.
Final Take:

SEEK Thermal CompactPRO is an excellent choice for the best attached thermal camera and it is also an advanced smartphone thermal imager. It comes well-equipped with 320x240 thermal sensors that can only be found in standalone cameras which are highly priced. This camera delivers crisp and clear thermal images.  This camera competes well with FLIR One which is also a compact thermal camera that can be attached on your tablet or phone.

5. FLIR ONE Pro - iOS - Professional Grade Thermal Camera

FLIR ONE Pro - iOS - Professional Grade Thermal Camera for Smartphones - with VividIR and MSX Image Enhancement Technology
Specifications:
90% Overall

Brand

FLIR

Dimensions

2.68 x 0.51 x 1.77 inches

Weight

1.27 ounces

Material

Plastic

92%
durability
90%
performance
89%
Value for money
89%
Ergonomics
Pros:
  • Compact nature of the Flir One together with the fact that you do not have to carry it around other thermal equipment makes it excellent for professional use.
  • Image Capture of up to 500 radiometric images.
  • 4800 pixels capable of capturing thermal measurements from 14°F to 302°F.
  • Spectral Range of 7.5–14 image capture of up to 500 Radiometric Images.
  • You can always capture still images, video or use its time lapse feature. The image files will be saved as jpeg file format while the videos will be viewed as MP4s.
  • Smart watch compatible
  • Offers a temperature range of 4 degree F and 752 Degree F (20 degree to 400 Degree C).
Cons:
  • When using this thermal camera, it is not possible to work on all the mobile phones as it was mainly designed for iOS and when using android devices, then it has to be at least Version 4.4.2.
  • The software needs some improvements so that the brand can get a way of increasing the operating time.
Final Take:

FLIR One Pro will offer you the much needed flexibility since everyone does use their mobile devices differently.  Its connection design made it to be considered as one of the best ProGrade compact thermal camera attachments for Smartphones.  The brand’s One Fit design makes it possible to adjust the connection up to 4mm meaning you will not have to remove the phone’s case to enjoy thermal imaging features.  This thermal camera is also an excellent option when used in an environment where mobile devices can easily get damaged.

Best Thermal Cameras - Product Buyer's Guide

File Formats

Image output methods on thermal cameras will always vary depending on the model and brand of thermal camera you purchase. Never assume that any thermal camera will offer you a standard JPEG. It is important that you always check on the product description the file format the images will be in before you make any purchase.

image processing

Most of the top performing thermal cameras in the market do have wireless connectivity that allows results to be analyzed more or less instantaneously. Additional or alternative connectivity features can include a Bluetooth or twin/Still camera and or USB connectivity. It helps you have more choices when it comes to the method you use in processing of images. 

Ensure that you take your time and check on the image process of a thermal camera before you purchase it.

Image storage

Most of the thermal cameras do store images using microSD or SD cards. It is important you check whether a thermal camera comes with a memory card or not. If not, then you will be forced to make a separate purchase which might make you spend more. It is advisable that you always have an extra spare card just in case you need more storage space.

battery life

The mid-range thermal cameras usually have a battery life of around 3-4 hours with the charging time ranging from 2 ½ – 4 hours. Most of the best thermal cameras in the market usually come with an extra battery that offers you great flexibility since you will have longer use time.

Durability

It does not matter if you are checking the energy efficiency of your home or building site, you will always require a thermal imaging camera that is able to stand up to the occasional knock or drop. 

No one will want to return to the market shopping for another thermal camera a few weeks after spending cash buying a new one. Ensure that you go for a durable thermal camera that will last for a long period despite it costing high.

Best Thermal Cameras - FAQs

Can a thermal camera detect leaks?

Yes, it is possible for a thermal camera to detect leaks since the area that is penetrated by moisture will be cooler than the surrounding area. Moisture intrusion, water leaks and mold if left undetected can easily cause great damage to your house.

Do the thermal cameras require calibration?

Majority of thermal cameras do require calibration. You will have to take your camera in to be recalibrated after almost every two to three years. However, recalibrating requires trained experts.

Can thermal cameras be used in getting electrical faults?

Thermal cameras are the safest, easiest and quickest devices that can be used in spotting potential electrical issues like overload in circuits or overheating of components.

What is the difference between cooled and uncooled thermal cameras?

The cooled thermal cameras do come with a cryocooler that helps in lowering the detector temperature to cryogenic temperatures. They also offer better image quality than the uncooled thermal cameras although it comes at an extra cost.

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