Best Thermal Imaging Camera

Learn about the best thermal imaging cameras, along with pricing, and frequently asked questions about infrared cameras.

Updated on July 16th, 2019

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A thermal imaging camera, or thermal imager, is a type of camera that uses special photoconductors to capture pictures that cannot be taken by a regular camera or seen with the naked eye.

Also known as an infrared camera, a thermal camera detects temperature by capturing the infrared light emitted by an object, human, or animal to form a thermal image. There are two types of thermal imaging cameras - cool infrared cameras and uncooled thermal cameras.

Infrared cameras are used in a wide range of commercial and industrial industries for various purposes, such as inspecting electrical panels or detecting furnace problems. Thermal imaging is also used for home or building inspection due to its accuracy and ability to function in all weather conditions.

Below, we take a look at the top 17 thermal imaging cameras and answer some frequently asked questions about thermal imaging.

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Flir E6 Thermal Imaging Infrared Camera w/ Wi-Fi

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Best Thermal Imaging Cameras:

Rank

Thermal Image Camera

List Price

1.

Flir E6 Thermal Imaging Infrared Camera w/ Wi-Fi

$1,979.00

2.

Flir E8 Point-and-Shoot Thermal Imaging Camera

$2,999.99

3.

Flir C2 Powerful & Compact Thermal Imaging System

$499.00

4.

REED Instruments, R2050 80 x 80 px Resolution Thermal Imaging Camera

$1,195.00

5.

REED Instruments, R2100 160 x 120 px Resolution Thermal Imaging Camera

$3,495.00

6.

Mastercool 52325 Thermal Imaging Camera Complete Kit

$568.79

7.

AEMC 2121.40 1950 Temperature/Infrared Imaging Camera

$568.79

8.

Flir C3 72003-0303 Pocket Thermal Camera with WiFi Connectivity

$699.00

9.

Flir TG167 74701-0104 Spot Thermal Camera with Image Storage

$379.99

10.

Flir E5-MR77 E5 Thermal Imaging IR Camera w/ Wi-Fi & MR77

$1,898.99

11.

Flir TG167-NIST Thermal Camera, 9Hz with NIST

$599.99

12.

Flir ONE PRO-iOS 435-0006-02 Thermal Imaging Camera for iOS

$399.99

13.

Flir ONE PRO-MICRO-USB 435-0011-03 Thermal Imaging Camera

$399.99

14.

Flir C2-NIST 72001-0101-NIST Professional Thermal Camera NIST

$799.99

15.

Flir E6-CM82 E6 Thermal Imaging IR Camera w/ Wi-Fi & CM82

$2,298.99

16.

Flir E5-NIST Thermal Imaging IR Camera w/ Wi-Fi & MSX

$1,549.00

17.

Flir ONE PRO-USB-C 435-0007-02 Thermal Imaging Camera

n/a

FAQs:

How much does a thermal camera cost?

Low-end thermal image cameras cost between $399.00 and $799.00, while the high-end versions typically cost between $1,500 and $3,000 or more.

See a list of the best thermal imaging cameras.

What is the difference between infrared and thermal cameras?

Very basically, infrared captures the heat coming off of an object and generates a picture of it, and thermal imaging captures the difference in temperature between an object and its immediate surroundings.

See a list of the best thermal imaging cameras.

What can you do with an infrared camera?

Infrared cameras capture heat, so they can be used in emergency situations, military actions, security, and artistic photography, among many other uses.

See a list of the best thermal imaging and IR cameras.

How do thermal imaging cameras work?

  1. A special lens captures the heat generated by all of the objects in view.
  2. Infrared-detector elements create a detailed temperature pattern.
  3. This pattern is changed into electric impulses.
  4. The impulses are sent to a signal-processing unit.
  5. Here they are changed into data and sent to the display.

See a list of the best thermal imaging and IR cameras.

What is thermal imaging used for?

  • Military action.
  • Firefighting.
  • Law enforcement.
  • Security.
  • Hunting.
  • Maintenance.
  • Medical purposes.

See a list of the best thermal imaging and IR cameras.

What's better night vision or thermal?

Thermal imaging is more practical as it does not require any light and can be used equally successfully in daylight.

See a list of the best thermal imaging and IR cameras.

How far can you see with a thermal imaging camera?

Many factors, such as environment, background, nature of the target, weather, and camera, determine how far you can see with a thermal camera.

See a list of the best thermal imaging and IR cameras.

Best Thermal Imaging Camera

What features do I need in a thermal imaging camera?

  • Buy an IR camera with the highest detector resolution you can afford.
  • Make sure it supports multiple image & video formats.
  • A thermal imager should meet or exceed 2% or 3.6°F.
  • Select a camera that is compatible with WiFi so that you can import images to your mobile device.
  • Good software to allow you to create custom reports.
  • Allows you to edit and manipulate images.
  • Allows you to stream video over WiFi or via USB.
  • Comprehensive warranty.
  • Ongoing technical support and training.

See a list of the best thermal imaging and IR cameras.

Are budget thermal imaging cameras good enough to use?

This depends on what you need to use the IR camera for. If you intend on using the IR camera for building inspection or surveillance, there is a variety of budget thermal imaging cameras available that are more than capable of meeting your needs. However, if you work in a profession that uses IR cameras, you may need to purchase a more expensive thermal camera with greater functionality.

What is MSX Image Enhancement?

This pocket-sized thermal imaging camera features Flir's unique Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX). MSX adds key details from the onboard visible light camera to the entire infrared image in real-time. The result is an all-in-one, undiluted thermal image with visible light features that allows you to instantly see results in the camera's LCD.

Can a thermal imaging camera see through walls?

No, a thermal imaging camera can only detect heat that radiates off an object, human, or animal. As walls are thick and usually insulated, the camera is unable to detect heat on the other side of a wall.