Monday , May 20 2024

Get an Expert Opinion on Which Thermal Camera to Buy for Your Inspection Needs

Thermal imaging cameras are devices used to capture images in the infrared spectrum. Also known as infrared cameras, thermal imagers, FLIR cameras or thermal scanners, these cameras allow you to see wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Just like you can’t see radio waves, you can’t see infrared light with the naked eye.

Shopping for thermal cameras can be difficult if you’re unfamiliar with them. Some of the details you should look for when buying one include:

Features to Consider in Infrared Cameras

Thermal imaging on people

The resolution indicates how much detail the camera can capture. For instance, 160×120 means it features an array of 160×120 pixels or sensors that make up the baseline thermal image. Higher resolution provides higher clarity, so the more the merrier. That being said, as the resolution increase, so does the clarity and cost. For that reason, you want the best resolution that your budget allows.


The sensitivity of the camera represents the minimum difference in temperature it can detect. This is also known as Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference. In this regard, a low number means better. For instance, building inspectors and pest control inspectors get better performance with lower thermal sensitivity. This is due to the fact that temperature differences between building elements with issues, such as high moisture content can be minuscule. However, if your work involves detecting larger temperature changes, this won’t impact you as much.

Field of View

This refers to the angle at which the camera sees the scene. Most entry-level models feature a wide field of view, suitable for inspecting from close range. While they can still measure from a distance, it’s less accurate than cameras with a narrow field of view. In other words, the field of view represents the angle of the camera’s lens. Instantaneous field of view is what describes the dimensions of the pixel in the target scene.

Temperature Range

Temperature Range Thermal Camera

The temperature scale represents the range of temperatures thermal cameras are calibrated for and capable of measuring. It’s a key specification to check if you intend on measuring high temperatures in furnaces, kilns and boilers.

Testrix and FLIR Cameras

Testrix and FLIR cameras are the undisputed leaders in thermal imaging. They provide a wide range of cameras, and all of them provide clear images. If you intend on using the camera frequently, it can pay off buying a model from these brands, as they have a proven track record of manufacturing quality products.

Typical Users of Thermal Cameras

Thermal imaging camera

Electricians, Technicians and Engineers

These are the most common users of thermal imaging cameras. Some of the applications performed by these professionals include:
  • Loose or Hot Electrical Connectors – The camera will help you locate hot joints or defective connections before they cause massive damage to equipment or stock
  • Power Usage and Phase Supply – Thermal imaging cameras will highlight unbalanced electrical loads
  • Underfloor Heating – You get a clear image of electric underfloor heating so you know whether it’s working properly or not. If there’s a defect, you’ll be able to see where it is
  • Overheated Parts – Overheated electrical parts will show up on the infrared spectrum. Adjustable lenses are preferred in these applications to quickly check overhead power lines and transformers for potential issues
  • PCB Defects – Check for electrical defects on printed circuit boards. The minimum focal distance matters if you’ll perform these types of checks

Builders, Architects, Designers, Plumbers and Inspectors

  • Leak Detection – Water leaks can be difficult to deal with, especially when you don’t know the source of the leak. For this reason, plumbers use thermal imaging cameras to make their jobs much easier
  • Moisture, Damp and Mould Detection – You can find the source and extent of moisture ingress in buildings
  • Rectification and Restoration – These cameras allow you to determine whether restoration has solved the moisture problems. Building inspectors, carpet cleaners and mould-busting businesses can benefit greatly from this
  • Insulation Issues – Thermal scanners can check the effectiveness of insulation and check for gaps in insulation materials, including home insulation, boilers and cool rooms
  • Air Leakage – You can check for air leaks, including air conditioning, heater ducting, leakage around door frames, windows and other building elements
  • Thermal Performance – Check the performance of heating systems such as wood fires, hot water tanks and electric heaters. Moreover, evaluate the performance of different building parts such as window coverings and glazing

Mechanical and Preventative Inspection

  • HVAC Inspection – Check the status of heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, including coils and compressors on air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Moreover, check the status of heat flows and heat sources inside buildings
  • Pumps, Bearings, Conveyors and Motors – You can detect overheating mechanical equipment and act before it fails
  • Welding – Check how the temperature varies along the weld
  • Vehicles – Check for mechanical issues in engine parts, exhaust leaks and uneven temperatures
  • Aircraft – Detect fuselage de-bonding, loose components and cracks
  • Pipes and Ducts – Thermal scanners can find blockages and leaks in pipework and vent systems