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Top 5 Cheap Thermal Imaging Camera Reviews

There are various functions of the thermal cameras, for instance, you can use this equipment to find any gas leaks.

You can easily find any water leak behind the wall, or a person hiding behind the bushes at night.

The thermal camera can also detect fever of the individuals that pass through a check point.

In early days, this technology was introduced in the market at a very high price. The cameras with thermal imaging feature used to cost a lot.

However, these days you can find a much cheaper version of these cameras as well. Now heat seekers come incorporated in small devices, and you can connect them to your smartphones.

Our list of cheap thermal imaging camera will let you get one for yourself as we will discuss all the pros and cons of each product in brief detail.

 

Product Name
Temperature Range Screen SizeCheck price
FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Imaging System-10°C to 50°C (14°F to 122°F)

2"$
FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera

-25°C to 380°C (-13°F to 716°F)
3"$$
FLIR CM174 True RMS 600A-25°C to 380°C (-13°F to 716°F)
1.5"$$$
Fluke VT04 Infrared Imager-10°C to 249°C (14°F to 480°F)
1.5"$$
DEWALT DCT416S1 12-Volt Max-10°C and 249°C (14°F and 480°F)2"$

 

FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Imaging System

The C2 Compact Thermal Imaging System from FLIR is a lightweight piece of equipment and has a slender profile which allows it to rest in your pocket very conveniently. Its operating temperature ranges between -10°C and 50°C or 14°F and 122°F while the range for storage temperature is from -40°C to 70°C or -40°F to 158°F.

The C2 comes with built-in LED spotlight as well which allows you to use it as a flash lamp as well or in case you need illumination for a photo. The thermal images taken from this device are MSX enhanced and offer a great deal of detail so that you can identify the issue.

The reporting software, FLIR Tools that comes with this device is also of high quality. This software enables you to do industry level analyses on your photo. The product only weighs slightly over 1 pound with dimensions of 4.9-inch x 3.1-inch x 1-inch.

Pros

  • The thermal camera feels very light in your hands.
  • It comes with MSX image enhancement feature.
  • Ti is a very sleek design and fits into your pocket comfortably as well.
  • Its thermal range is between -10°C and 50°C (14°F and 122°F)
  • The storage temperature ranges between -40°C to 70°C (-40°F to 158°F).

Cons

  • The unit does not record thermal videos.
  • This camera is excellent, but there are cheaper options that you can find on the market.

Verdict

It is a top quality product that enables you to take the thermal images with a good amount of accuracy. It also comes with an LED flash to take photos in the dark.

FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera

Another thermal camera from FLIR, which is equipped with class II laser as well as a 1mW power output. The device features an innovative lepton engine for infrared imaging that has a sensitivity of 150mK with a refresh rate of 9 Hz. You don’t need to any special training to use this product as it is highly intuitive.

The camera also comes with an 8GB MicroSD card for you to save you data for documentation purposes. The USB cable that comes with this item is high-speed and enables you to download your data to your laptop in no time.

You can store your thermal camera in a cool bag that is included in the package. Moreover, you are covered by 2-year product warranty and ten-year warranty for the imaging detector as well. It is a total package that is made for your satisfaction to the fullest.

Pros

  • You can conveniently detect some issues with your electrical appliances, HVAC, building as well as automotive applications with it.
  • Its IR sensor is capable of detecting temperature variations between -25°C and 380°C (-13°F and 716°F).
  • TG 165’s thermal resolution is 80px x 60px.
  • You can use this thermal camera for troubleshooting some issues.

Cons

  • It does not come with MSX image enhancement feature.
  • It is a thermal imager, not a thermal camera.

Verdict

The product does its job very well, and you have extra memory to store your data as well. It is a convenient product that allows you to troubleshoot some problems with various applications.

 

FLIR CM174 True RMS 600A

Another product from FLIR, the CM174 is another one that falls into the category of cheap thermal imaging camera. This item is a class I product that is equipped with the 0.39mW output.

With this device, you can work safely and scan a cabinet or a panel for any hazardous issues with the help of its IGM without getting into direct contact.

On display, there is a center point temperature which can confirm any hot spots as well. The gizmo comes with various advanced level electric features including LoZ, Inrush, True RMS, VFD Mode and smart diode.

It has a narrow jaw, and it also incorporates built-in work lights that enable you to see hidden locations that are hard to reach and are dark. It is also equipped with a current meter and a clamp meter as well. The product weighs less than 2 pounds and has dimensions of 1.7-inch x 3.5-inch x 9.5-inch.

Pros

  • It can gauge the temperatures between -25°C and 380°C (-13°F and 716°F).
  • It is equipped with some features including LoZ, Inrush, and True RMS, VFD Mode and smart diode, clamp and meter readers as well which make it one of the best and cheap thermal cameras you can find on the market.
  • You can troubleshoot any problems existing in your panels and cabinets with this thermal camera.
  • The product also house built-in work lights for you to see in the dark places.

Cons

  • The cover of the screen is made of fragile plastic, and it scratched comfortably.
  • It does not come with any casing.
  • The batteries die out very quickly.

Verdict

It is an excellent product with multiple features. The product does not cost you much, and still, it does more than just giving you thermal images.

 

Fluke VT04 Infrared Imager

The VT04 from Fluke gives you a visual image as well as an infrared heat map that blends and provides you with a full detailed view of the precise location of any potential hazard.

Its center point temperature along with hot and cold marks enables you to differentiate between the different areas based on the temperature. The weight of this thermal camera is just over 2, and half pounds and its dimensions are 10.8-inch x 8.5-inch x 3.5-inch.

The mini sized device fits well in your pocket and uses it whenever you want. It comes with a carrying bag and has a very intuitive display that does not require any expertise to comprehend and read.

The thermal camera comes with SmartView software application as well that allows you to make customized reports for documentation.

You also get an SD card storage facility that can store over 10,000 images per GB. It is designed to work and troubleshoot some applications associated with building, HVAC, electronics as well as mechanics.

Pros

  • It can gauge temperatures in the range -10°C and 250°C (14°F and 482°F).
  • The product comes with a 2-year warranty for your satisfaction.
  • The package also includes a caring case for easy storage and carrying.
  • The thermal camera comes with SmartView software and SD storage that can save 10,000images per GB.

Cons

  • The image clarity is a bit of an issue with this device.
  • It also doesn’t give you a thermograph map.

Verdict

This device is one of the best among other cheap thermal imaging camera options. It keeps things simple and you don’t have to pay much for it as well.

 

DEWALT DCT416S1 12-Volt Max

The Imaging Thermometer kit from Dewalt is the highest priced items on this list, but it comes fully loaded with features. The imaging technology that the company has incorporated in this device is patent pending. It displays both visual and thermal images for reference. You can measure the temperatures very accurately without getting into contact with any object. It can easily work with temperature ranges between -10°C and 249°C (14°F and 480°F).

The thermal camera allows you to blend your visual and thermal images and diagnose any issues accurately as well as quickly. Plus you also have the options of a MicroSD card where you can store all your data as well. The device is equipped with hot and cold temperature tracker for measuring the differences. The weight of this powerhouse is 15 pounds while its dimensions are 13.8-inch x 4.3-inch x 11.4-inch.

Pros

  • This thermal camera is fully loaded with characteristics that you must have on your device.
  • It allows you to store your data for future referencing.
  • The device comes with a big carrying case allowing you to handle it conveniently.
  • You get to blend your thermal as well as visual images for easy trouble shooting.

Cons

  • It is too expensive for the features that it carries.
  • The settings are very hard to figure out.

Verdict

This product does not fall into the category of cheap thermal imaging camera, but we have included it because of its ability to take the thermal and visual images and blend them to make the issue visible clearly.

Buying Guide

How does thermal imaging work?

In a thermal imaging device, there is a unique lens that only focuses on the infrared light that is emitted by all the objects that come into its view. This light is then scanned by an array of elements that are equipped with infrared detection capabilities. After this these elements develop a high-detailed temperature pattern that is called thermogram which is commonly known as a thermal image.

Why do thermal imaging cameras work better at night?

Thermal imaging cameras work better at night because the surroundings are colder at night and the warm objects emit a greater amount of infrared light at night due to the colder surroundings. When the sun is down, the difference between the heat producing object and the heat reflecting objects is greater.

Does thermal imaging work during the day?

During the day time, small capacity infrared cameras will only produce blur images. For this purpose, you will need a high-quality thermal camera. However, for near objects, the result with a regular thermal camera is better, but for the distant objects, you must require a top quality thermal camera.

What should I consider when buying a thermal camera?

First of all, you must look for a non-contact temperature measurement features of the device so that you can get a clear picture in the dark without touching anything. The temperature difference should be accurate, and a clear difference should be present. A clear temperature difference is not present if the image is blurry.  If you want some extra details, then you should also look for the feature where you get to blend both visual and thermal images taken from the device for easy referencing.

Is there any difference between thermal imaging and infrared imaging?

There is no difference as such between the two particularly, when the objects emitting the radiations have temperatures that are easily comparable with the room temperature. However, for natural cold and lukewarm objects, the thermal emissions become infrared.

Overall Conclusion

From the above assessment, FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Imaging System is the clear winner for us. It does cost a bit more than an average thermal camera, but it comes with more than handy features which drag it into this list of cheap thermal imaging camera. The amount of quality and characteristics to back the performance, usually don’t come in this price range.