Automotive diagnostics are becoming more complex. Gone are the days when you could identify an error by listening to the engine and checking a few. Cars with complex electronics and without expensive diagnostic equipment can be to your detriment to make things work.
A thermal imaging camera is a useful device that can help you identify any problems in your vehicle. This can help you identify electrical issues such as the current draw and mechanical issues such as sleeping drive belts and uneven braking.
These are easy to manage and safe because you can work your assessment from a safe distance. A thermal imaging camera can save you hours of painful investigation. To help you choose the right device, we have selected the best thermal imaging camera here.
The Best Thermal Imaging Cameras
Table of Contents
1. FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Imaging Camera
Ideal for spotting hot spots in your home to detect areas where your insulation has deserted and other heating, ventilation and air conditioning applications. This fruit heat camera is very electrical and useful for building.
This will help you determine the brake rotor’s temperature uniformity and allow you to solve tire and belt mechanical problems with your vehicle for automotive use. It has a second class laser and you don’t need to focus your device. The Lepton IR imaging engine will do it for you with a minimum measuring distance of 10 inches, a resolution of 60 x 80 and a sensitivity of 150 m. The device can detect temperatures between 13 and + 760 degrees Fahrenheit.
The refresh rate is 9hz. This thermal imaging camera is compact and easy to use. It is a durable product that can withstand a drop of two meters. It takes a few seconds to set up and you don’t need any special training to use it. Images will be instantly available on the built-in screen but can be relayed to other devices via USB cable or SD card.
- Class II laser thermal imaging camera
- SD card and USB
- Detects temperatures from – 13 to + 760 degrees F
- 60 x 80 resolution
2. Seek Thermal Imaging Camera XR Imager
This compact infrared heat camera is basically a cell phone accessory compatible with the iOS system in a range of Apple phones. It is straightforward to carry with you and it comes with a waterproof case.
It identifies thermal energy using a vanadium oxide microbolometer and converts it into an image displayed on your phone’s screen with a pitch of 12μ pixels. The camera can detect long infrared waves with -40 to 626 degrees F and 7.2 – 13 microns. It has a chalcogenide lens with a 20-degree field of view.
- Apple iPhone accessory
- Chalcogenide lens
- Detects temperatures from –40 to 626 degrees F
3. Fluke General Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera
A lightweight, battery-powered thermal imaging camera that is easy to operate and durable. It is easy to handle and can be used with just one hand even after you wear gloves. It features a 3.5-inch LCD screen with 160-inch 120 resolution (19,200 pixels), but you can share or store photos you’ve captured with others via the smartphone app.
Images are displayed using the standard colour palette of rainbow, blue-red, amber and grayscale. The infrared heat camera features a laser pointer to help you accurately identify problems and provides a very detailed image thanks to the 3.39 MRD spatial resolution. The subtle temperature differences are clearly indicated because the heat sensitivity is an impressive .0.10 ° C at 30 ° C (100 MK).
- Lightweight and battery operated.
- LCD screen with 160 x 120 resolution
- SD card or image sharing via app
- 3.39 mRad spatial resolution
4. FLIR E4 Compact Thermal Imaging Camera
This WiFi-enabled thermal imaging camera lets you easily share images across the Internet using smartphones or tablet applications. This particular model has an 80 x 60 IR pixel resolution but models with higher resolution are available.
The thermal camera uses multi-spectral dynamic thermal imaging, so the heat image will clearly show the details like numbers, letters and textures. This makes it easy to identify precisely where hot spots are without reference to standard digital images.
This thermal imager heat camera has a high-quality three-inch LED screen on which you can capture the image through a focus-free lens by pulling the trigger. It comes with a hard case for carrying, a USB cable and a rechargeable battery with charger.
- WiFi-enabled for sharing images.
- 80 x 60 IR pixel resolution
- Three-inch LED screen
- Multi-Spectral dynamic thermal imaging
5. Seek Thermal Reveal Thermal Imaging Camera and LED light
A sturdy and compact device that is durable enough to survive in a workshop but provides accurate and professional-grade thermal imaging.
It is easy to use with just one hand. The heat imaging technology will work in light and dark and the camera has a powerful LED 300-lumen light. It is powered by a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 10 hours. It has a field view of 36 degrees complete and can measure temperatures from 40 degrees to 626 degrees F. 32,000 heat pixel images can be displayed on a large LED screen or stored on an included SD card.
- The rugged, compact device
- Rechargeable battery
- 36-degree field-of-view
- 32,000 thermal pixel images
6. FLIR C3 Pocket Thermal Imaging Camera with WiFi
An exceptionally compact pocket device provides thermal imaging with impressive precision to help you identify mechanical problems and be suitable for domestic and construction applications. It can hold up to 500 radiometric images and illustrates 4800 pixels.
It can locate temperatures ranging from 14 degrees F to 302 degrees Fahrenheit. This Fleece camera iPhone attachment has two measurement modes (center spot or area minimum / maximum). It features a focus-free operation that provides an image on a three-inch screen or a WiFi connection to another mobile platform.
- Compact pocket device
- Focus free operation
- Detects temperatures from 14 degrees to 302 degrees F
- WiFi connectivity
- 4800 pixels image
7. Milwaukee Thermal Imaging Camera
A fast and versatile tools that are very easy to use and provides a 160 x 120-pixel resolution thermal image on the built-in 3.5-inch high resolution LED screen. Images can also be stored on a 2GB SD card or exported via a USB cable.
It will detect temperatures from -10 degrees Celsius to 350 degrees Celsius and detect motors and machinery problems. It is beneficial for automotive applications. The thermal camera has a trigger capture action and is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery.
- SD card and USB cable
- 3.5 inch high-resolution LED screen
- Temperature detection from -10 degrees C to 350 degrees C
8. IR Resolution Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera
This camera gives you 220 x 160 resolution at 35,200 pixels an excellent choice for real-time thermal imaging. The camera is gun style with an ergonomic handle. It will identify and display images of temperatures ranging from -4 degrees to 572 degrees F and demonstrated with image frequencies of 9 Hz.
You can choose your colour palette from Rainbow, Iron Oxide Red, Cool Color, Black and White and it will appear on a 3.2-inch full-color display screen. Alternatively, images can be stored on an SD card or transferred to another device via a USB cable. The results are incredibly accurate and the actual temperature is within 2.5 degrees F. It is lightweight and comes with a practical travel pouch.
- Gun-style ergonomic handle
- Images are 220 x 160 resolution at 35200 pixels.
- Detects temperatures covering from -4 degrees to 572 degrees F
- Images displayed at 9 Hz
9. Perfect Prime IR0018 Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera
This thermal camera delivers a reasonable resolution of 220 x 160 and 35,200 pixels. It has a built-in 3.2-inch display screen but images can also be equipped using a USB cable or equipped with a built-in 4GB SD card. It captures images at a frequency of 9 Hz and the MCVT can be adjusted from 0.1 to 1.0. You do not have to focus on the camera and the angle of the field is 27 degrees x 35 degrees. It can detect temperatures between -4 degrees and 572 degrees Fahrenheit with an accuracy of +/- 2.5%. Thanks to the improved image overlay, you can place regular images on top of thermal images so you can pinpoint hotspots with pinpoint accuracy so that it becomes ideal for automotive applications.
- 220 x 160 and 35,200 pixel resolution
- Detects temperatures of between -4 degrees and 572 degrees F
- Images displayed at 9 Hz frequency
- Built-in SD card and USB export
10. FLIR ONE Pro Thermal Imaging Camera for iOS
A useful and compact thermal imaging camera works through your smartphone that displays your phone screen results. It is fitted with the iOS system on your phone or tablet. The angry case has a sensitive 160 x 120 resolution sensor to give you a sharp image. It can detect temperatures ranging from -4 degrees to 752 degrees and allows you to make accurate measurements from a safe distance. You got the highest quality image. Thanks for enhancing the MSX image. It connects seamlessly with the app on your smartphone and allows you to share images easily. It comes with a shielding case and charging cable.
- Rugged case housing
- For use with a smartphone
- Detects temperatures from -4 degrees to 752 degrees F
- 160 x 120 resolution sensor
Best Thermal Imaging Camera Buying Guide
What to Look for in a Good Infrared Camera
If you’ve never bought a thermal imaging camera before, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the technical jargon. Here’s a simple guide to what you should look for when purchasing.
The resolution of the infrared camera indicates how crisp and clear the results of the image will be. Images that are not so clear cannot show subtle details and it is more challenging to find precisely where the warmer regions are. However, higher resolution cameras are more expensive. A cheaper thermal imaging camera will have a lower resolution, so it is essential to balance your need for detailed images with your budget. Thermal imaging cameras do not have much higher resolution than computer screens. Typically, you will see a value of about 160 × 120 which is 19,200 pixels. Check that you are looking for the detector’s costs and not for the LED screen on the device as it may be different. There is little to pay for high-resolution screens when the detector resolution is low.
Ease of use
Ideally, you want a device that can be set up in seconds and handled using one hand. You don’t want to spend hours putting it together. A simple trigger powers many thermal imaging cameras and you do not need to focus on them.
Range of temperature detection
The more temperature variations you are likely to adopt, the better the complete range. There is a wide range of more expensive cameras so it’s best to get the best for your budget. If subtle temperature differences are essential to you, then you need a device that maintains a high heat sensitivity. A good value would be around 30 10 C (100 mK) around ≤0.10 C, which is enough for most automotive applications.
You must have a clear view of the image so that you can analyze what is going on. Many thermal imaging cameras come with built-in LED screens that can give you a clear idea of the image. Some cameras may overlay a standard light image with a thermal image to provide you with more detail.
Sometimes you need to save the image for later viewing or sharing with others. To do this, you need an infrared camera to keep the painting to an SD card and many devices come with about 4GB SD card. You may be able to transfer images to other devices, such as laptops, via a USB cable. Some of the more expensive thermographic cameras have a WiFi connection. You can share pictures via smartphone apps.
If you like the idea of a Thermal compact camera that will use the screen on your smartphone, there are a few cameras available that will slot into your phone and provide a decent image. These may be cheaper than single cameras but the resolution may not be so high. You can easily share images via the smartphone app and the device is straightforward to carry around.
The picture frequency indicates how often the image is refreshed, which can be important when the engine is running and the temperature distribution changes. Most thermal cameras have a frequency of nine Hz which is nine cycles per second.
In order to survive in a workshop, the camera needs to be durable and robust. It needs to have a hard case to prevent it from being dropped or thrown in a tool box!
Why You Should Use an Infrared Camera
Vehicle diagnostics have changed dramatically over the past few decades. Some motor enthusiasts may remember the days when you could tell how your car smelled or what happened to your vehicle. Nowadays, electronic devices control everything from how much fuel is delivered to your car engine. It’s hard to ‘see’ what’s going on in your vehicle, but you can now get a clearer insight into what could go wrong thanks to thermal imaging cameras. A thermal imaging camera lets you work from a visual image, making the diagnosis faster and more accurate. Here are some flaws that your thermal imaging camera can detect.
- Excess current draw
- Plugged catalytic converter
- Current draw when the ignition is turned off
- Stuck EGR valve
- Identifying a misfiring cylinder (exhaust manifold)
- Faulty seat heaters
- Identifying dead battery cells
- Broken wires on window defoggers
- Mass airflow sensor problems
- Spot a lousy idler bearing
- Identify a slipping drive belt.
- Highlight a dragging brake caliper
- Find issues with the radiator or heater cores (cold spots)
- Identify uneven braking
- Find a clogged A/C condenser or evaporator.
- Spot leaking hot engine oil
A thermal imaging camera is most commonly used in engine bogies, brake systems, and heating and cooling systems in autonomous diagnostics. However, they are also instrumental in solving problems, including insulation and electrical and plumbing. Problems with domestic and commercial heating and air conditioning systems can also be quickly identified using this device.
The Best Thermal Imaging Camera Brands
You can spend hours researching infrared cameras, temperature ranges, comparing resolutions, reading reviews, and scanning product specifications. Or, you can stick with the name of a family that trusts thousands of customers. Faire is a highly respected brand in this field and leads with thermal imaging technology. Their products are considered the best out there when it comes to high picture resolution and connectivity. Their products may not be the cheapest on the market but they offer great value for money. If you are looking for a more professional grade of the product, an alternative is the Fluke range. They represent a substantial amount of financial investment so that they may not appeal to the average casual user, but they offer the highest thermal imaging technology level. Another advantage is that they integrate seamlessly with other fluke devices, including multimeters and vibration meters.
Best Thermal Imaging Camera FAQ:
Q: What is a Thermal Imaging Camera?
Cameras are used to capture images. Ordinary cameras capture an image using light that people can detect. However, our eyes can only see a thin band of light, referred to as visible light. Visible light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that travels through space as a wave. All kinds of radiation found in the spectrum of locks that have different wavelengths, including radio waves and microwaves. Infrared radiation also found in the electromagnetic spectrum, and thermal imaging cameras use this type of radiation to create an image. The amount of infrared radiation that an object emits is related to its temperature, so it is like a temperature map of an image.
Q: How does a thermal image camera work?
All objects emit infrared radiation. We can’t see it but we can feel it so if you put your hand in front of the flame or heater, you can feel the heat on your own skin. Colder objects emit infrared radiation but you cannot feel it.
Half the energy emitted by the sun is a combination of ultraviolet and infrared radiation and therefore, sunlight can make your skin feel warm.
Heated objects block high levels of infrared radiation. Therefore, if you have a device that can measure the level of infrared radiation, it will let you know how hot things have not come near you.
This is a heat imaging camera. It detects this radiation and converts it into an image using the shadows of light visible on different screens.
Thermal imaging cameras have many small devices called microbolometers and one for each pixel. Each microbolometer captures infrared radiation and converts its pixels into a color that matches the level of radiation.
For example, very high temperatures emit large amounts of radiation and the microbolometer makes it transforms it into a bright yellow/orange color. Most heat cameras have a low resolution that is rarely higher than around 640 × 480.
Q: What temperature range can these cameras detect?
The temperature range is given in the specifications or in the user manual for each camera. This is the temperature range that the camera can detect. Examples are common – more money, more sophisticated devices consuming 760 degrees F to 13 degrees F +. On the other hand, cheap devices on your smartphone have a narrow range of temperature detection, such as +14 এ F to +302 F.
Our Top Pick
The top pick of the best thermal imaging cameras is perfect for detecting hot spots in your home or your motor vehicle. You can quickly and easily identify mechanical problems. The device has a second-class laser and a Lepton IR imaging engine with a resolution of 60 x 80 pixels. You can use it to detect temperatures between 13 and + 760 degrees Fahrenheit with a refresh rate of 9hz. This best-infrared camera is compact, easy to operate and powerful. Images can be viewed instantly on the screen or stored on an SD card. These can also be exported to other devices using a USB cable.