When do I need a better thermal imaging camera?
Infrared thermal imaging cameras are awesome bits of tech that can be used for lots of different applications. Some include detecting:
- air leaks
- gas leaks
- water leaks
- overheated wall outlets and circuit boxes
- moisture damage
- structural issues
- missing, damaged or inadequate insulation.
Whilst most handheld thermal imaging cameras will be able to detect these issues, the more expensive a camera the more detailed and reliable they are
The more serious the job, the better the camera should be. If you’re just a weekend DIYer, it’s not necessary for you to get the top of the line, highest quality infrared camera for sale. Instead, you may only be using your handheld thermal imaging camera every so often and can opt for the more affordable FLIR Systems option.
On the other hand, if you’re an experienced tradie that will require a thermal imaging camera every day and it’s important you detect all faults quickly, you’ll probably be wanting to get the best of the best. I mean, it can be pretty serious if you make a mistake or don’t detect harmful problems in people’s homes. Ensuring you have the top of the range infrared thermal imaging camera should be a high priority for electricians, plumbers, and HVAC installers.
One of the main reasons handheld thermal imaging cameras are priced so differently is the image resolution. Just like new phone models, most of the time the reason thermal imaging cameras are priced so different is the camera quality. Whilst some handheld thermal imaging cameras will have different features, the biggest differences are usually in the image resolution.
But when do you need better image resolution and when do you not?
When image resolution is important
We get it, everyone wants the better camera, but it’s not always necessary. Here we’re going to break down when you need higher image resolutions and when you don’t. So, let’s get into it.
Image resolution is basically the number of pixels that an image uses. The more pixels, the better and more detailed the image is. Think back to the days when you had your first phone - we can bet that the photos your camera took back then were worse than they are now. That’s because the number of pixels was a lot fewer.
When it comes to thermal imaging, the image resolution also plays a part in temperature readings. So, the more pixels there are, the more accurate the temperature reading is. This isn’t to say that a more affordable camera will not be able to detect important temperature differences that are life-threatening, like an overheated electrical circuit. It’s just to say that if you’re needing more accuracy, you should buy a more expensive handheld thermal imaging camera. Simple!
Another key thing to note about a higher image resolution is that it can work from a greater distance away. This is especially important if you’re an electrician or HVAC installer, as being close to malfunctioning electrical circuits or other issues can be very dangerous. A higher image resolution means that you can do your job well, while remaining safe.
Overall, image resolution isn’t the be-all and end-all of a good infrared camera. But of course, if your job is to detect these faults and to do it safely, opting for the higher resolution is a good idea.
Okay, so we understand the important things to look for in an infrared thermal imaging camera, but what are some of the key differences between the FLIR camera systems? Let’s find out.
Key feature differences between cameras
You can count on FLIR to provide you with the best handheld thermal imaging camera. Whether it’s their more affordable option the FLIR One Pro or their top-of-the-line FLIR Advanced Exx Series thermal camera, FLIR manufacture high-quality and reliable infrared cameras.
First off, let’s take a look at the key features of the FLIR One Pro (if you want to learn more then check out our recent blog post). The FLIR One Pro is FLIR’s more affordable thermal imaging camera. But don’t get fooled by its lower price, this infrared thermal imaging camera is one of the best on the market.
The FLIR One Pro connects to your smartphone and is suitable for simple home and building inspections, simple HVAC and plumbing installations, simple electrical issues, and DIYers.
Here are the key specifications of the FLIR One Pro:
- temperature range -20o C to 400o C
- thermal resolution is 160 x 120 (19,200 pixels)
- visual resolution is 1440 x 1080 pixels
- sensitivity of 0.07o C (70 mK)
- compatible with iOS, Android USB-C and Android Micro USB
- battery time of 1 hour.
A slightly more advanced infrared camera is the FLIR Ex – XT Series Thermal Imaging Camera with MSX and Wi-Fi. This is a great option for people who need their handheld thermal imaging camera to be more accurate and showcase a lot more detail. What makes this camera more advanced than the FLIR One Pro is the MSX® thermal image enhancement. This feature adds key details of the image back into the picture, meaning that numbers, labels, and other structural features, that are usually lost, are now easily recognisable. This is a great tool for those that need that extra bit of functionality, resolution, and sensitivity, such as experienced tradespeople.
Let’s take a look at some of the key specifications and features of the FLIR Exx-XT:
- temperature range of -20o C to 250o C
- thermal resolution is 80 x 60 (E4), 120 x 90 (E5), 160 x 120 (E6), 320 x 240 (E8)
- thermal sensitivity ranges from 0.05o C to 0.15o C
- visual resolution 640 x 480
- MSX resolution is 320 x 240
- battery time of 4 hours.
Our next level of FLIR’s handheld thermal imaging cameras is the FLIR MR277 Building Inspection System with Moisture Hygrometer. This is a great infrared camera as it combines FLIR Systems MSX technology with its infrared guided measurement (IGM). IGM is beneficial as it helps you zone in on the problem area and easily document the issues. This is a great handheld thermal imaging camera as it ensures that you can locate all issues with a high level of accuracy.
Some of the key features and specifications of the FLIR MR277 thermal imaging camera are a:
- temperature range of 0o C to 100o C
- thermal resolution of 160 x 120 (19,200 pixels)
- thermal sensitivity of less than 0.07o C
- visual resolution of 320 x 240 pixels
- air temperature range of 0o C to 50o C
- dew point range of -30o C to 50o C
- battery time of 16 hours.
If you need an accurate, reliable and high-quality FLIR Systems thermal imaging camera then take a look at the FLIR Advanced Exx Series Uncooled Thermal Camera. This handheld thermal imaging camera is ideal for locating points of failure in electrical distribution and mechanical systems. A great tool to improve plant reliability, safety, and productivity, the FLIR Advanced Exx Series infrared thermal imaging camera is a super useful and sophisticated tool for high-level tradespeople.
Some of the key features and specifications of the FLIR Advanced Exx Series include a:
- temperature range of -20o C to 120o C
- thermal resolution of 240 x 180 (E53), 320 x 240 (E75), 384 x 288 (E85) and 464 x 348 (E95)
- thermal sensitivity of 0.04o C
- battery time of 2.5 hours.
If you require a handheld thermal imaging camera that also detects moisture then a great option is the FLIR MR176 Imaging Moisture Meter Plus with IGM. Unlike the other FLIR Systems cameras mentioned, this handheld thermal imaging camera detects and guides you to the precise spot where moisture is hiding. If you want more information about tools to detect moisture, then take a look at our recent blog post!
Here are the key features and specifications of the FLIR MR176 Moisture Meter:
- thermal resolution 80 x 60 (4800 pixels)
- air temperature range 0o C to 50o C
- dew point -30 o C to 50o C
- relative humidity 0% to 100%
- sensitivity of 1.5o C
- battery time of 18 hours.
Make sure you know exactly what you need your infrared thermal imaging camera for, so you make the right decision. Get in contact with the Revolution Industrial team if you need a little more help deciding!
Longer warranties for bigger investments
The final thing to consider before purchasing a handheld thermal imaging camera is to understand that the more you pay for an infrared camera, the longer the warranty period. This is an awesome aspect of the FLIR Systems and means that you can always feel safe purchasing one of their products. Below we list the warranties available for each of the FLIR Systems infrared thermal imaging cameras, so you can make the best financial decision.
- FLIR One Pro
- FLIR Ex-XT Series
- two years parts and labour warranty
- ten years warranty on the detector
- FLIR MR277
- FLIR Advanced Exx Series
- two to ten years warranty (depending on the model number)
- FLIR MR176
- limited lifetime warranty.
As you can see, the FLIR Systems handheld thermal imaging cameras are guaranteed to last for a long time, rather than a short time. The greater the purchase, the longer the warranty, meaning you don’t have to stress about making a big financial decision.
Overall, it’s important to understand exactly what features you need and should prioritise. If you know that you require a handheld thermal imaging camera to keep you and your clients safe, you will probably be looking at the more expensive and comprehensive FLIR Systems models. If you’re a weekend DIYer, then the more affordable FLIR Systems camera may be what you’re looking for. Whatever you’re using an infrared thermal imaging camera for, you can trust FLIR Systems to offer high-quality and reliable solutions for every budget and project.
If you need additional help and support, then contact us today! We’re here to help.