With so many options available on the market, choosing the best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection can be a daunting task. In this article, we will provide an overview of the key features to consider when selecting a thermal imaging camera for moisture detection and recommend some of the best models currently available.
Thermal imaging cameras have evolved to become by far the most valuable inspection tools for moisture detection. Today these cameras have surged in popularity to become an indispensable tool for home inspectors, real estate agents, and new home buyers. Additionally, these cameras are incredibly diverse so home inspectors can find the best models for their specific needs.
Thermal imaging cameras have revolutionized the way we detect moisture in various materials, including buildings, walls, roofs, and floors. By detecting and visualizing temperature differences, these cameras can identify areas where moisture is present, even if it is not visible to the naked eye.
What is a Thermal Imaging Camera?
A thermal imaging camera is a special type of camera that uses sensors to detect the thermal energy that objects emit and turn it into an image. All objects living and non-living emit thermal radiation but at different levels. When a thermal camera is focused on an object, it will see the different thermal radiation emissions from that object and create an image using those radiations.
Can a Thermal Camera Detect Moisture?
Yes, thermal cameras can detect moisture in materials by detecting temperature differences caused by the presence of moisture. Moisture in materials has a different thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity than dry materials, which can result in temperature variations that can be detected by thermal cameras.
When moisture is present in a material, it takes longer to heat up and cool down compared to the surrounding dry material. This can result in a temperature difference that can be detected by a thermal camera.
A thermal thermal camera can detect moisture in the hard-to-see areas of both residential and commercial properties. Most of the plumbing pipes in the building are hidden inside the walls and above the ceilings. If there is a leakage in a pipe, a thermal camera will identify the leak based on the temperature difference. After that, a plumber is called in to rectify the leakage.
What Makes a Good Thermal Camera for Moisture Detection?
When choosing a thermal imaging camera for moisture detection, you will want it to have all the basic features you need for the scope of your home inspection services. Firstly, the camera should have a high resolution that yields quality and crips clear images of the objects you will be inspecting.
Furthermore, the best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection should have a long detection range to work under any obstacle. On top of that, the camera should have a refresh rate that updates the screen quickly and a thermal sensitivity that makes it operable in all seasons.
A good thermal camera for moisture detection comes with multiple color palettes that make it easier for one to detect the differences between the pipes and other objects. It also comes with a high-capacity battery that is able to provide multiple hours of continuous run time.
Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Moisture Detection-Our Top Picks
Picking the best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection breaks down to a number of factors including budget and the scope of your building inspection services. Listed below are some of the best thermal imaging cameras that are ideal for moisture detection. Let’s take a look.
1) FLIR MR160 -Thermal Imaging Moisture Meter
FLIR MR160 -Thermal Imaging Moisture Meter is the best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection. This home inspection device comes with a built-in Pinless Sensor for verifying the moisture level in pipes and identifying moisture anomalies without disturbing the walls, floors, joints, and ceilings.
Furthermore, this product features an Infrared Guided Measurement (IGM) technology that provides live thermal images during inspections. This way, you are able to locate cold spots instantly and determine if the targeted moisture measurements of the cold spots are caused by a moisture problem.
Another feature that makes this compact device the best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection is the long battery life. It provides 18 hours of continuous runtime when the battery is fully charged to keep running even during lengthy inspection sessions.
Moreover, this tool has a focus-free wide-angle lens thermal camera that captures and stores up to 9,999 BMP images with overland measurement values. It also comes with a large 2.3” 64k color TFT display that is easy to read even in extremely bright lighting conditions.
- 320 x 240-pixel resolution
- Infrared Guided Measurement (IGM) technology
- 9,999 BMP image storage capacity
- Focus-free thermal camera
- Built-in Pinless Sensor
- 3” 64k color TFT display
- 10cm/4” minimum focus distance
- 8–14 Micro m spectral response
- Field of View (W x H): 51° × 38°
- Image Frame Rate: 9 Hz
- Measurement Resolution: 0.1
- Battery: 3.7 V, 3000 mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery
- Great battery life
- Easy to use
- Compact, lightweight, and portable design
- Portable, Tough, and Durable
- Storage Capacity of up to 9999 images
- 18 hours of battery life
- 2-Year Product, 10-Year Thermal Detector Warranty
2) FLIR One Pro LT Thermal Camera for Smartphones
The FLIR One Pro LT Thermal Camera is built with versatility in mind, it’s compatible with iOS and Android.
This compact and smartphone-compatible thermal camera is ideal for a wide range of applications including moisture detection and other home inspections.
It is built with a 1440 x 1080 pixels IR camera that yields crisp clear image views of objects being inspected. Furthermore, this camera has a thermal sensitivity of 100mK to identify cold and hot spots instantly. It is also built to measure temperatures the temperature of objects in temperatures ranging from -20°C to 120°C.
FLIR made this camera with a unique image processing technology that increases the resolution and accuracy of images at any temperature. On top of that, it boasts the patented MSX technology that yields high-quality image views for a mobile IR solution.
- 100mK thermal sensitivity
- IOS and Android compatible
- OneFit adjustable connector
- 1440 x 1080 pixels resolution
- Video, still image, and time-lapse capture modes
- Multiple spot meter
- 0°C — 35°C (32°F — 95°F) Operating temperature
- 8.7 Hz Refresh rate
- Automatic/Manual shutter
- ±3°C or ±5% accuracy
- Simple to operate
- Stunning picture quality
- Excellent ergonomics
- Video and Still image capture modes
- Quality construction
- Short battery life (Approximately 1 hr)
3) Seek Thermal Compact – All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera
Next up we have the Seek Thermal Compact All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera. This is the best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection for budget buyers looking for a lightweight, compact, and easy-to-use thermal imaging camera.
The camera boasts a detection range of 1,000ft which is long enough to meet the needs of every home inspector out there. Complementing the long detection range is a wide field of view of 36° and a 206 x 156 thermal sensor that detects hot and cold spots instantly.
Moreover, this camera comes with 9 color palettes to enhance the contrast between objects and give you the flexibility to customize your experience. It measures the temperature of objects ranging from -40°F to 626°F and has a frame rate of 9Hz to keep the screen updated.
Above all, this multifunctional thermal imaging camera is designed to work day and night, and it displays the temperature readings in spot, Hi/Low, and threshold modes.
- 9 different color palettes
- Focusable lens
- 206 x 156 thermal sensor
- 9Hz frame rate
- Three temperature modes
- 1000ft detection range
- Easy to use
- Good battery life
- Compact and lightweight design
- Poor picture quality
- Slow refresh rate
4) Klein Tools TI250 Rechargeable Thermal Imaging Camera
When doing moisture inspections in a residential or commercial building, you need a high-quality thermal imaging camera like the Klein Tools TI250. This camera is optimized for home inspections where it detects anomalies quickly and easily.
Built with over 10,000 pixels for troubleshooting hot and cold spots, the camera provides clear views of any fault present no matter the environment.
Additionally, it is built with a large LCD display that is intuitive and very easy to use. Better yet, it has a compact and lightweight design which makes it easy to use and carry around.
This thermal imaging camera runs on a single lithium-ion battery that is rechargeable. During use, the emissivity can be adjusted from as low as 0.1 to 0.99 to suit the situation at hand. Besides, the camera comes with three different color palettes and crosshairs that pinpoint specific temperatures of the object that is being inspected.
- High and low-temperature alarms
- Rechargeable battery
- Three color palettes
- 0.10 to 0.99 adjustable emissivity
- Over 10,000 pixels to troubleshoot hot and cold spots
- +/- 2 or +/- 3° accuracy
- Premium quality construction
- Easy to use
- Great energy efficiency
- Comes with a micro-USB charging cable and a carrying case
- 3 Color Palettes only
5) Hti-Xintai 220 x 160 IR Resolution HTI Thermal Imager
Another best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection on our list is the Hti-Xintai HT-18 Thermal Imager. This thermal imaging tool is simple to use even for beginners. It boasts a high resolution of 220 x 160 to maximize the quality of images it generates in all environments. It is also built with an image overlay that forms the most perfect fusion of thermal images and normal images.
Complementing the impressive resolution, the camera features a 3.2” full-color display screen that is simple to operate and readable in all lighting conditions. Furthermore, it brings to the table 5 different color palettes for you to customize the camera based on your needs.
Moreover, this handheld thermal imaging camera has a lightweight design of 0.83 pounds for easy portability. It also comes with a travel pouch for convenient transportation and safe storage when not in use.
What’s more, is that the camera comes with a free 3GB built-in memory card that provides more than adequate room for storing the videos recorded and images captured. It also features a built-in rechargeable 18650 battery that on a full charge provides up to 3 hours of continuous runtime.
- High-resolution imagery
- Built-in rechargeable battery
- 3GB built-in memory card
- 5 color palettes
- 3.2” full-color display screen
- USB slot
- Enhanced Image Overlay
- ±2°C or ±2% accuracy
- Ergonomic handle with a snug grip
- Decent price
- Has a protective cover
- Versatile easy to use
- Lightweight and portable
- Features a screen protector to prevent screen scratches during transportation
6) FLIR MR265 Moisture Meter and Thermal Imager with MSX
Our last thermal imaging camera recommendation for moisture detection is the FLIR MR265. This is a high-quality moisture meter that also doubles as a thermal imager that captures images and records videos.
Built with a 160 x 120 thermal imaging sensor, the MR265 provides clear views of objects so you can see the area of concern with great clarity. In addition to that, this tool brings to the table a non-invasive pin-less sensor that instantly scans for moisture anomalies in any piping system.
Another highlight of this thermal imager is the large 2.8” display that is simple to use and read in all lighting conditions. To complement the large display, this handheld thermal imaging camera gas 9Hz frame range and 5 image modes: iron, rainbow, artic, white-hot, and black-hot. These color modes give you the flexibility to customize the camera to suit your preference.
To top it all off, the FLIR MR265 thermal imager has 8GB internal memory card that can accommodate up to 15,000 images.
- 160 x 120 pixels infrared resolution
- 8GB internal memory
- 5 different image modes
- Rechargeable battery
- Non-invasive pin-less sensor
- 9Hx frame rate
- Quick and accurate measurements
- Simple to use
- Lightweight, compact, and portable design
- Comparatively expensive
Related: 7 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Plumbers
Criteria for Choosing the Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Moisture Detection
Infrared resolution is the first thing to take into account. The best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection should have a high infrared resolution to yield clear and quality pictures. Without a proper resolution, it will be hard for the plumber or home inspection officer to determine the magnitude of the anomalies.
The next thing to look at is the cameras’ battery efficiency. Thermal imaging cameras tend to use power more quickly than standard cameras. As such it is important to get a device that has a relatively long battery life. With such a camera, you will be able to use it continuously without any disruptions.
For moisture detection, you will need a thermal camera whose thermal sensitivity is able to detect the hot and cold spots and capture all the infrared red radiations that the area being inspected emits. A thermal camera with a high thermal sensitivity will detect faults quickly and capture all the infrared emissions that are emitted.
The sensitive range is the other important factor to consider. It refers to the maximum and minimum temperatures the camera can sense an object or fault, and it varies widely from one product to the other. The best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection has a wide sensitivity range that makes it ideal for a wide range of applications in any lighting or weather condition.
Benefits of Thermal Imaging for Moisture Detection
- Identify Leaks in Pipe. Thermal imaging cameras offer the easiest and most effective way to detect leakages in a piping system of a commercial or residential building.
- Hidden Molds Inspection. A thermal imaging camera can help a home inspector detect hidden molds in the pipework, which would otherwise be difficult to see with the naked yes.
- Most of the thermal imaging cameras that are used for moisture inspection are multifunctional and ideal for other applications like electrical inspections.
Finding the best thermal imaging camera for moisture detection doesn’t always have to be a chore. With the right information, it becomes easy thing to find the right tool for your needs. Look at the specs and features that each camera brings to the table then use the information in this article to find the best model for your needs.
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