The manufacture of the thermal camera is awash with numerous players and brands today, from cheapest to most expensive.
Some of the best thermal imaging camera brands are Fluke, Flir, Milwaukee, and Seek. It is noteworthy that the Fluke and the Flir have invested plenty of resources and research in the field of thermal imaging.
Other than the home inspection products, you will also gain access to the specially-designed products which serve industrial applications, military and the aerospace science. Theirs are hence the best thermal imaging cameras on the market today.
How to Choose the Right Thermal Camera
With numerous kinds of thermal imaging cameras out there, it may be tricky for you to arrive at the most suitable one.
However, by adhering to the following factors, it may be possible for you to narrow down to the best cameras for your purposes:
- How much money are you willing to spend on these cameras?
- What roles do you intend to devote the camera to?
- How often do you intend to make use of the cameras?
By knowing how much you are able and willing to spend, you will make the first significant step towards this goal.
After ascertaining the realistic amount of money you might spend on these gadgets, proceed to narrow to the cameras which exist in that price range.
Thereafter, you might want to contemplate just how you intend to apply the camera. If you intend to use it to detect unsealed windows or heating, air conditioning, electrical inspection, and ventilation issues in your home, you probably will not require an expensive camera with plenty of advanced features.
With regards to this, it is necessary that you be realistic and truthful with your expectations and what you intend to utilize the camera for.
Lastly, determine how often you plan to use the camera. If you intend to do so only a few times a year, probably in a non-professional setting, it is insensible to purchase an expensive thermal camera.
On the contrary, if you run a personal business of inspecting buildings and intend to use these cameras on a daily basis as a means of earning a livelihood, you may want to spend more to purchase a top-of-the-range camera.
Top 3 Best Budget Thermal Imaging Cameras
1.FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Imager
This is not an entry-level model as it possesses features which exist only in the high-end models. These notwithstanding, it does not cost too much. Get hold of it to save yourself some money.
The FLIR C2 is a highly sensitive detector camera which reveals heat changes from -140°F to 3020°F. You are hence capable of picking up the minutest changes in temperature.
This allows you to identify the hidden insulation leaks with ease. Generally speaking, this camera incorporates the detector and the thermal camera to produce detailed images.
It boats of possessing the VGA 640 x 480 pixels resolution camera. It further has an 80 x 60-pixel thermal sensor.
These two jointly generate images with resolution measuring 320 x 240. Lastly, it has space for around 500 radiometric images which are stored in the JPEG format.
Each image has a capacity of 4,800 individual temperature measurements.
- Battery Life and Accessories
With a full battery, the camera can operate continuously for around two hours. It does have a charger which is easier to plug.
Moreover, it also comes along with the useful pieces of hardware which make work easier in the field. To transfer data, you will make use of a USB cable.
- FLIR Software
The camera allows you to add relevant information and analyzing the images courtesy of the FLIR Tools Professional Reporting Software.
This suite is top-performing by virtue of possessing all the tools requisite for showing minimum, maximum, and average temperature information. Other than these, it contains change color palettes and adds spot meters.
- Warranty Information
To spare you unnecessary losses, you have some 2-10 year warranty with this camera. The thermal detector is backed by a 10-year warranty whereas other parts get 2 years.
You have to register with the customer care to be eligible though.
Key Features :
- Contains plastic and rubber shells which enhance durability
- Packed with the MXS image enhancement
- Operable by buttons and touchscreen
- Supported by the FLIR tools software for the analysis of images
- Generates high-resolution images
- Handles a wide temperature range comfortably
- Has an optional LED lighting
2.Fluke VT04A Infrared Imager
On the whole, this camera is 40% smaller than most competitors. It is hence suitable for industrial and home applications. The device is mainly optimized for fragile objects and those that are remotely located.
By its design, it greatly simplifies the troubleshooting activities. At the same time, it brings about professional quality readings and images without asking for any training. It is your best bet if you are on a budget as well.
- Thermal Imaging Features
With this camera’s PyroBlend plus Optics, you are certain to obtain high-resolution objects. The sensor is the 31 x 31 which aligns with the thermal image to give you awesome visual pictures.
Other than this, the camera has an awesome field of view that measures 28° by 28° too. It also you to vary the temperature ratings and sets off the thermometer when the selected temperature is exceeded.
You are spared of the need to put in too much attention. This is not to mention that it blends images automatically courtesy of the one-touch button.
Though small, this camera is quite remarkable. It has a wide temperature detection range of around 140°F to 4820°F.
You will find it applicable for heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems, mechanical industries, and electrical inspections.
Given that its thermal sensor is uncooled, it takes measurements from afar off.
This is not to mention that it maintains higher accuracy levels due to its ability to align visible lights in near and far operational modes.
The camera stores up to 10,000 images due to its possession of 4GB SD card storage device. This combined with its SmartView software simplifies the process of accessing and editing images.
- Battery Life, Warranty and Accessories
The camera requires four AA batteries to operate, unlike the VT04. You will thus enjoy a longer running time of around 8 hours. It is accompanied by a soft case and 2-year warranty.
Key Features :
- Contains quick hot and cold spot markers
- Possesses a center measurement box
- Has six color pallets
- Battery-saver modes
- Auto-monitor alarm
You have this camera for your thermal imaging details, comes at a lower price, and great for house and building inspections. Its compact size and a user-friendly design combine to provide optimal functionality.
The FLIR E4 thermal camera is a rugged device which is hand-held, sleek in design and rugged rubberized finish. It has the ability to withstand falls from 6 feet.
It MSX technology, on the other hand, helps to generate realistic images which bring about conclusive reports.
The 80 by 60-pixel resolution gives off detailed outcomes while viewing images. It brings together the thermal sensor and the 3.1 mega-pixel visible light camera.
The latter captures high-resolution images which possess greater details.
The MSX image enhancement extracts finer details from the camera and embeds the same to the thermal image.
In all, the camera has a pretty wide (45°) field of view. Its fixed focus means you will have to adjust your distance accordingly to obtain the best images.
The camera is super easy to navigate courtesy of the one-button controls.
- Wi-Fi Connectivity
This feature allows you to transfer your files wirelessly. By use of the smartphones and tablets, you can also edit those files and send the same to your clients wherever you are.
The feature allows for timely responses which save you some bit of time.
- Accessories and Battery Life
It draws its power from the Lithium-ion batteries. This provides hours of uninterrupted services which is sufficient to analyze structures and perceive the alterations in the heat, plumbing cogs, and other pertinent details.
It is encased in a transport case which shields it from damages. This is not to point out that it has a USB cable for manual file transfers.
- Warranty Information
Lastly, the camera comes with comprehensive warranty coverage. It is governed by the 2-5-10 warranty scheme which is valid for 10 years on the thermal detector, 5 years on the battery, and 2 years on parts and labor.
To qualify for this warranty, you have to register it on the customer care website.
Key Features :
- Wide temperature range (-4°F to +482°F)
- 9Hz refresh rate
- Four color pallets i.e. black, rainbow, iron, and white
- Focus-free lens
- MSX imaging provides further details in the images
- One-button navigation
- Four measurement modes i.e. auto cold spots, auto hot, center spot, area box
- Great warranty provided that you register
- A budget camera which can nevertheless serve commercial purposes
It is my hope that you will find this information worthwhile and helpful in enabling you to select the best thermal imaging camera for your needs.