Top 5 Best Rated Thermal Imaging Cameras (*2020 Review)

Do you want to find the best thermal imaging camera?

Infrared cameras are a great way to find hidden water leaks, air leaks, missing insulation, electrical faults, and more.

In this product review guide, I will go over...

  • My #1 top pick for the best thermal imaging camera
  • How I use my thermal imaging camera during home inspections
  • How do infrared cameras work

Let's get started with this guide!

top best thermal imaging camera

My Overall #1 Rated Pick

top best rated thermal imaging camera reviews flir e6-xt
  • 43,200 pixel thermal sensor (240 x 180 resolution)
  • Comes with built-in WiFi and bluetooth for easy photo & report sharing
  • Picture-in-picture technology for easy diagnosis (infrared on top of regular photo)

My overall top pick for the best thermal imaging camera goes to the FLIR E6-XT. This premium infrared camera has a 43,200 pixel thermal camera that will give you incredible resolution to diagnose house or building problems. It comes with WiFi and bluetooth so you can easily share images and reports on the job. The E6-XT includes picture-in-picture technology so you can overlay infrared photos over regular photos.

My Top 5 Picks For Best Thermal Imaging Cameras

Are you short on time? To skip the details, and see my top picks, check out my list below.

*If you want more information and their pros and cons, keep scrolling.

  1. FLIR E6-XT Handheld WiFi & Bluetooth Infrared Camera (My #1 Top Pick)
  2. FLIR C3 Compact Thermal Imaging Camera (A Close Second)
  3. Seek Thermal CompactPRO Infrared Camera
  4. Hti-Xintai 300k Pixels Thermal Imaging Camera
  5. FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Imaging Camera (Budget Friendly)

What Is A Thermal Imaging Camera?

A thermal imaging camera is a special type of video camera that will record videos and take pictures of the thermal landscape. The infrared camera will convert the infrared signal (heat) into an electrical signal and display it visually on the screen.

Infrared cameras are much more popular than years ago because prices have dropped considerably. Thermographic cameras used to exceed $10,000 but can now be purchased for a few hundred dollars.

The type of light emitted by objects that is seen by thermal cameras is called infrared radiation.  Infrared radiation is in the electromagnetic spectrum just like visible light --- except that it is invisible to human eyes.

When you take a picture of a room using an infrared camera, it will show different colors or shades which represents the different temperatures of the environment.

Most commonly, the higher temperature objects will appear orange and yellow, and the lower temperature objects will appear blue or purple. 

Read Also: What Are The Best Home Inspection Tools?

How Do I Use Infrared Cameras For Home Inspections?

I have used thermal imaging cameras on many of my home inspections.

If I have a suspicion about a certain area, let's say a basement wall, I can pull out my infrared camera to get a quick overview of temperatures in the area.

I can also take a picture of the infrared imagery and include it in my home inspection report. Even though I always use a moisture meter to confirm the presence of water or moisture --- using a thermographic camera can also help greatly.

In addition to finding water, other uses for thermal imaging cameras can be to find electrical problems, air leaks, and missing insulation.

Read Also: How To Use A Moisture Meter For Drywall & Wood?

The Best Thermal Imaging Cameras

Here are my top picks with their pros and cons for handheld infrared cameras...

My #1 top pick for the best thermal imaging camera goes to the FLIR E6-XT. 

The camera comes with a 43,200 (240 x 180) pixel infrared detector so you can see things that other cameras miss.

The E6-XT comes with built-in Wi-Fi which will allow you to share infrared pictures and send reports from wherever you are.

This FLIR camera has picture in picture technology so you can have a fixed section of a thermal image onto a regular digital photo to diagnose problems.

  • Premium thermal camera with a 43,200 pixel infrared detector (very detailed)
  • Comes with built-in Wi-Fi so you can share pics & reports
  • Picture in picture technology to help you diagnose problems
  • Expensive
  • Complaints about FLIR software usability

The FLIR C3 is a premium thermal camera that is compact enough to fit in your pocket (or tool pouch).

Despite its size, it is a fully featured high quality thermal imaging camera with everything you expect from FLIR.

Each picture is 4800 pixels (640 x 480) with a temperature range of 14 to 122 fahrenheit. It also includes WiFi connectivity and picture-in-picture technology.

  • Compact and rugged design yet fully featured
  • WiFi connectivity
  • Picture-in-picture technology with touchscreen
  • Missing a cover for lens
  • Software may not work for PCs
  • Resolution isn't that high for price

Seek Thermal transforms your android or apple smartphone (or tablet) into a fully functioning IR camera at a fraction of the price.

The 320 x 240 thermal sensor allows you to find electrical faults, water leaks, insulation problems and other heat related issues.

This thermal camera doesn't requires batteries (uses phone battery) and it comes with a waterproof case when not in use.

  • Compact and small so you can keep it in your pocket when not in use
  • Charging is not required (plugs into phone)
  • 320 x 240 thermal sensor to find home heat-related problems
  • You may have to take off your case in order to plug it in
  • Sign into app each time you use camera

The Hti-Xintai HTI-19 is a budget friendly thermal imaging camera that can give great resolution at a low price.

This thermal camera has 320 x 240 resolution with 300,000 pixels with an accuracy of 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

It comes with a 3GB built-in memory card and micro-USB connection for easy storage.

This camera will last 2-3 hours on a single charge and is lightweight (less than one pound).

  • Budget friendly price with a 320 x 240 camera resolution
  • 2-3 hours on a single charge
  • Lightweight at less than one pound
  • Lower quality than FLIR
  • Will need to make more thermal adjustments for clarity

The FLIR Spot Thermal Camera is a high quality thermal camera that won't break the bank.

This rugged IR camera can withstand a fall from 6ft and can be stored in a tool bag without issues.

The camera has an 80 x 60 resolution and temperature range up to 716 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes with 8GB microSD card so you can easily transfer photos to your computer.

No training required, it is simple to use.

  • One of the lowest priced FLIR camera
  • 8GB microSD card for storage
  • Temperature range up to 716 degrees
  • Lower quality images
  • Screen flickering

My #1 Top Pick: FLIR E6-XT Handheld WiFi & Bluetooth Infrared Camera

My #1 top pick for the best thermal IR camera goes to the FLIR E6-XT. Here's why...

#1. 43,200 Pixels

This high quality thermal camera will give you incredibly detailed thermal images. The resolution is 320 x 240 with over 40k pixels.

#2. Picture-In-Picture Technology

This feature by FLIR allows you to overlay an infrared photo over a regular photo to help you diagnose problems --- a unique benefit.

#3 WiFi

The E6-XT is WiFi and bluetooth enabled so you can easily share photos and reports on the job.

#4 Leading Brand

FLIR is the leading manufacturer of thermographic cameras so it is a brand you can trust.

Read Also: What Are The Best Moisture Meters For Home Inspecting?

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

Arie is the founder of Home Inspector Secrets, an online resource dedicated to helping people understand how homes work. He is a licensed home inspector in two U.S states and owns a residential and commercial inspection company (read his full bio on the About page). To ask Arie a question, please use the comment box at the bottom of the relevant article.

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Home Inspector Secrets is an online resource for owners, buyers, and sellers to understand all aspects of home maintenance. We have detailed home guides, product reviews, inspection advice, and much more.