6 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for HVAC

A thermal imaging camera is a device that every HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technician should have for their day-to-day work, the best thermal imaging camera for HVAC will scan the hot and cold spots in an electrical circuit, troubleshoot any problems available and ensure that you get through the inspections in an effective and easy way.

Thermal imaging cameras are essential tools in the HVAC industry for detecting and diagnosing various problems. Whether you’re a professional technician or a DIY enthusiast, having the right thermal imaging camera can save you time and money by identifying issues before they become major problems

What is a Thermal Imaging Camera?

A thermal imaging camera is a unique type of camera that detects thermal radiation to create an image. When an object emits infrared radiation, the camera collects that radiation and takes it through a series of processes to form an image on the screen.

The thermal sensors in thermal cameras work in any lighting or weather condition. They are not dependent on light like standard cameras and will work even in complete darkness. This makes them ideal for a broad range of applications both in the military and civilian world.

What Makes a Good Thermal Camera for HVAC?

If there is a field where thermal cameras are widely used, it is HVAC inspections. Here, a good thermal camera will help you find problems without having to cut holes in the walls to get to the pipes or destroy the structures housing the air conditioning systems.

For a thermal camera to be good for HVAC inspections, it should have a high IR and display resolution to provide more detail. This is particularly important when you are working in a tight space that is hard to reach.

Moreover, the camera should have a display that is bright and easy to read when you have to refer to it while working. A wide and clear field of view is the other thing that the camera should have for quick scanning of both small and large areas.

The best thermal imaging camera for HVAC should also be compact and lightweight for easy portability. Additionally, the camera should be built with durability in mind. HVAC inspections are tough, so it is important to get a tool that will stand up to rough handling.

Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for HVAC-Our Top Picks

Given the plethora of thermal imaging cameras available on the market, finding the right model for HVAC inspections is not always easy. We have a list of the best-rated thermal cameras that you can depend on for your day-to-day HVAC inspections. Let’s have a look.

 

1) Hti-Xintai HT-19 320 x 240 IR Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for HVAC

 

The Hti-Xintai HT-19 is by far the best thermal imaging camera for HVAC out there. This camera has a high 320 x 240 IR resolution and a sharp 3.2” color display screen that make it the best tool for everyday HVAC inspections.

The screen of this camera is readable in all lighting conditions and offers 5 different color palettes to optimize the detail of the objects. Besides, the camera brings to the table an adjustable emissivity function to ensure accuracy in different environments.

Another highlight of this handheld thermal imaging camera is the lightweight design that enhances portability and ease of use. Other than that, the camera is powered by a rechargeable battery and comes with a USB cable for charging and data transmission.

Above all, this compact and portable camera comes with a 3GB built-in memory card to help you store as many images as possible.

Features

  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • 3.2” color full angle TFT display screen
  • 320 x 240 IR resolution
  • 9Hz frame rate
  • ±2% / ±2℃ Accuracy
  • 5 color palettes
  • Adjustable emissivity
  • 2 to 3 hours battery life
  • 0.07℃ thermal sensitivity
  • -20℃ to 300℃ (-4°F to 572°F) temperature range

Pros

  • Lightweight, ergonomic design
  • Bright and easy-to-read screen
  • Multifunctional
  • Sure-grip ergonomic handle
  • Simple push-button operation
  • Quality construction

Cons

  • Doesn’t detect pipes buried deep in compact sand

 

2) FLIR One Pro LT Thermal Camera for Smartphones (iOS/Android)

FLIR One Pro LT iOS Pro-Grade Thermal Camera

 

 

 

FLIR Systems continues to make valuable and high-quality thermal imaging devices and the One Pro LT iOS/Android Pro-Grade Thermal Camera is one of their best models for HVAC. This camera is powerful, portable, and compatible with a wide range of iPhones.

It is built with an outstanding 100mK thermal sensitivity and 4,800 pixels resolution to ensure that you get the most detail during use. Furthermore, it is designed to detect the temperature of different objects ranging from -20°C to 120°C.

Complementing the broad temperature measurement is an MSX technology that enhances the camera’s accuracy and resolution and helps technicians find hidden anomalies in buildings easily.

Furthermore, this thermal imaging camera features a compact form that you can easily put inside a pocket and carry wherever you go. It is also built with an adjustable connector that extends up to 4mm for quick mounting on the smartphone with or without the protective case.

Features

  • 100mK thermal sensitivity
  • OneFit adjustable connector
  • 80 x 60 IR resolution
  • iOS lightning phone port
  • 1440 x 1080 visual resolution
  • ±3°C accuracy

Pros

  • Vivid pictures
  • Accurate and reliable
  • Simple to use
  • Compact, lightweight, and portable

Cons

  • Short battery life

 

3) Seek Thermal Compact – All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera

Seek Thermal Compact - All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera

 

When it comes to multifunctionality and performance, the Seek Thermal Compact Thermal Imaging Camera is hard to beat. It has an ultra-compact size that makes it a perfect tool for DIY homeowners and HVAC technicians.

This thermal imaging camera has a massive detection range of 1,000ft to meet the needs of every HVAC technician out there. On top of that, it boasts a large field of view of 36° for scanning large areas quickly and a 206 x 156 thermal sensor that detects hot and cold spots instantly.

To complement the high thermal sensitivity, the camera also comes with 9 color palettes that not only enhance the contrast between objects, but also provide you with the flexibility to customize the views. Furthermore, the camera is built to measure the temperature of objects ranging from -40°F to 626°F.

Above all, this versatile thermal imaging camera has a 9Hz frame rate and it displays the temperature readings in spot, Hi/Low and threshold modes.

Features

  • 206 x 156 thermal sensor
  • 9Hz frame rate
  • Spot, Hi/Low, and Threshold modes
  • 9 different color palettes
  • Focusable lens
  • 1000ft detection range

Pros

  • Unmatched versatility
  • Easy to use
  • Long battery life
  • Compact and lightweight design

Cons

  • Slow refresh rate

 

4) FLIR Systems T865 Thermal Imaging Camera

FLIR Systems T865 Thermal Imaging Camera

 

Next up is the FLIR System T865 Thermal Imaging. This high-end thermal imaging camera is built with a ton of top-notch features that offer a perfect balance between quality and multifunctionality.

The performance of this camera is second to none. Getting it for HVAC inspections will revolutionize your workflow efficiency and help you find the hidden anomalies that would be hard to detect with the naked eye or lower-quality thermal cameras.

Furthermore, this camera guarantees user safety during use. It has a long detection range that works even from a distance. It also comes with a 180° rotating optical block and an integrated eyepiece viewfinder that works at any angle or lighting condition.

The other features that make it the best thermal imaging camera for HVAC are a high 30Hz frame rate and a crisp clear 4” color IPS display that is easy to read in all lighting conditions. The two features coupled with the advanced thermal imagery optimize the performance of the camera in all environments.

Features

  • 4” color IPS display
  • 180° rotating optical block
  • Integrated eyepiece viewfinder
  • 640 x 480 pixels resolution
  • 30Hz frame rate

Pros

  • High accuracy
  • Takes pictures in thermal and regular modes
  • Incredible picture resolution
  • Lightweight and compact design

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Costly

 

5) Seek Thermal RevealPro Thermal Imaging Camera

Seek Thermal Revealpro Thermal Imaging Camera

 

The RevealPro Thermal Imaging Camera is another outstanding thermal camera ideal for HVAC inspections. This camera is compact but powerful. It is loaded with an array of features that make it ideal for virtually all commercial and residential inspections.

Firstly, it has a 320 x 240 thermal sensor that reveals building defects that are invisible to the naked eye. Further, the camera is built with 4 emissivity presets to ensure that it provides the most accurate measurements in all environments.

Built with a large 32° field of view, the camera provides a wide viewing area for quick scanning.  On top of that, it comes with 9 different color palettes for you to choose from. It also has a wide temperature detection range up to 626°cF to outperform other thermal cameras on the market.

Above all, the RevealPro thermal camera comes with a rubberized casing to ensure safe storage during transportation and when it is not in use.

Features

  • 9Hz refresh rate
  • Durable rubberized casing
  • Adjustable emissivity
  • Highly sensitive 320 x 240 thermal sensor
  • 9 color palettes
  • Fixed focus lens

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Large and bright color display
  • Stunning picture quality
  • Compact, lightweight, and easy to use

Cons

  • Fragile

 

6) FLIR TG165-X Thermal Camera

FLIR TG165-X Thermal Camera

 

 

Lastly on our list of the best thermal imaging camera for HVAC is the FLIR TG165-X Thermal Camera. This handheld thermal camera is outstanding in terms of performance, reliability, and versatility. It works in all weather and lighting conditions and in temperatures ranging from -25°C to 300°C

The selling point of the thermal imaging camera is its ease of use. When it is directed to the area where the anomalies are suspected to be, all the technician has to do is pull the trigger and the camera captures all the information needed instantly. Besides, it shows clearly the size of the measured area and provides a spacious field of view for quick scanning.

Optically, the camera has a large 2.4” display that is readable in all lighting conditions and intuitive and simple to operate, even for beginners. It also boasts a compact size that makes it easy to carry around.

Features

  • Large 2.4” display
  • 80 x 60 pixels IR resolution
  • 320 x 240 display resolution
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Bright LED work light
  • Class 1 laser

Pros

  • Unrivaled accuracy
  • Simple to operate
  • Solid construction
  • Bright LED display

Cons

  • Short battery life

 

Related

 

Criteria for Choosing the Best Thermal Imaging Camera for HVAC

Therma imaging cameras for HVAC are diverse and here are the important features to consider before settling on a particular product.

Resolution

Resolution is the first thing to consider. In thermal cameras, both the IR and display resolution vary widely between products. A camera with a high display and thermal resolution will yield crisp and more detailed images than a counterpart with a lower resolution. It is therefore important to get a camera with a high resolution even if it’s costly.

Temperature Range

Like resolution, the temperature range of thermal imaging cameras for HVAC varies from one production to the other. Ensure that the camera you get for HVAC inspections has a temperature range that is broad enough to match your scope of work.

Display

The other important feature of a thermal camera is the display. Go for a thermal imaging camera that comes with a display that is not just large, but also bright. The best thermal imaging camera for HVAC should also have a display that is intuitive and simple to read for added convenience especially when you have to refer to it while still working.

Durability

HVAC inspections are often tough on equipment irrespective of the magnitude of work that you have to deal with. It is therefore important that you look for a product that is ruggedly built to last long. A thermal imaging camera that is built with high-quality materials will stand up to rough everyday use and last long.

Field of View

The other feature to consider when looking for the best thermal imaging camera for HVAC is the field of view. If you want a tool that scans a large area at a go, look for a model that is built with a large field of view. Conversely, a camera with a smaller field of view is the best for more detailed inspections.

Conclusion

Finding the best thermal imaging camera for HVAC doesn’t have to be a hard, taxing task. By knowing the specs and features that you need for your scope of work, it becomes easy thing to find the right thermal camera for your needs. Hopefully, the information in this post has been informative enough and you are now able to find the right tool for your HVAC inspections.