Best Budget Thermal Imaging Camera For Home Inspection

Many manufacturers are engaged in the production of thermography cameras today. Whether you inspect buildings or are just an ordinary homeowner, you will find one cheap thermal camera that suits you.

The same applies to the amount of money you are willing to part with. We developed this site to aid you in finding the most suitable thermal imaging camera that fits your budget.

Best 3 Budget Thermal Imaging Camera

1.) FLIR E4 Thermal Image Camera

This hand-held device is rough in appearance. Its design is however glossy whereas its finish comes in the form of rubber coating. Being strong, it remains steadfast even after falling from a height of 6 feet. Its resolution is the impressive 80-by-60 pixels which exude details and clearly visible images.

In all, this camera is an amalgamation of the 3.1 megapixel and the thermal sensor light cameras. With the former feature, the camera captures and displays high-resolution images. These are also packed with extra details.

In addition, it possesses the MSX enhancement which plucks out additional details from the camera and inserts the same to the thermal images.

Its field of view is very wide (measures 45°). You will, however, have to adjust your distance appropriately before taking any shots owing to its possession of fixed focus. All in all, this gadget is simple to engage chiefly due to the one-button controls.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

After capturing the shots, you will transfer them easily to other digital devices, courtesy of this feature. You may further alter the sizes and features of the images using your tablets and smartphones.

This means you will enjoy the advantages of swift actions which definitely cuts down your time.

Accessories and Battery Life

To operate, it relies on the Lithium-ion batteries to power it. Thanks to these batteries, you obtain hours of continuous services. This is definitely enough for you to scrutinize the structures and take note of any changes in the heat levels, plumbing cogs and so on.

The entire battery is encapsulated in a transport case which protects it from unnecessary dangers. A USB cable comes in for your manual transfer of files.

Warranty Information

A comprehensive warranty accompanies this camera. The warranty in question is the 2-5-10 scheme.

This simply means 10-year validity for the thermal detector, 5-year validity for the battery and 2-year validity for the labor and parts, respectively.

You have to register in advance with the customer care website to be eligible for any compensation though.

PROs 

Wider temperature range (-4°F to +482°F)

  • The refresh rate of 9Hz
  • 4 color pallets i.e. white, iron, rainbow, and black
  • Focus-free lens
  • MSX imaging that furnishes extra image details
  • One-button navigation
  • 4 modes of measurements i.e. area box, center spot, auto hot, and auto cold spots
  • Comprehensive warranty (on condition that you register in advance)
  • Simple yet capable of discharging commercial tasks

CONs 

  • The smaller resolution which handles heavy thermal imagery applications while inspecting buildings
  • Reduced refresh rates

Verdict

The camera is on the whole greatly suited for thermal imaging details. It is cheaper and facilitates topnotch building inspections thoroughly.

The design is user-friendly whereas its size is extremely compact. These two work hand-in-hand to yield the best outcomes imaginable.

By use of its MSX technology, you will obtain more realistic image outcomes which subsequently make your reports a bit more conclusive.

2.) Fluke VT04A Infrared Imager

The camera is 40% more compact than its major competitors. You will subsequently find it suitable for both home and industrial applications. It is however better off for those objects that are fragile and distantly located.

Thermal Imaging Features

It embodies PyroBlend plus Optics. This grants you high-resolution images. Its sensor is the legendary 31-by-31.

It straightens up with the thermal image to yield breathtaking pictures. Further to this, its field of view is wide enough by virtue of measuring 28°-by-28°.

This one gives you the ability to alter the temperature ratings. It further triggers the thermometer immediately the set temperature is hit.

In this way, you are spared of the need for constant attention. That it automatically mingles images via the one-touch button is a plus.

Performance

Even though this camera is minute its performance is nonetheless extraordinary. For one, it detects the temperature at a wider range of approximately 140°F to 4820°F. It is subsequently pertinent for electrical inspections, mechanical industries, air conditioning systems, ventilation, and heating.

Its thermal sensor is warm. This makes it capable of taking measurements from distant locations.

Regardless of the circumstances of use, it retains high levels of accuracy given its ability to arrange in line with the visible lights in the far and near operational modes.

With this camera, it is possible for you to store well over 10,000 images. The 4GB secure digital card storage device shall make this possible.

A SmartView software also comes in to expedite the editing and access of the stored files.

Battery Life, Accessories and Warranty

To be able to operate, the camera needs four AA batteries. These jointly yield a prolonged running time or approximately 8 hours. A soft case and 2-year manufacturer’s warranty accompany it.

PROs 

  • Possesses markers for hot and cold spots
  • Has a center measurement box
  • Comes along with six color pellets
  • Battery-saving modes
  • Focus-free
  • Auto-monitoring alarm

CONs 

  • Gives off inaccurate readings from time to time (some by as much as 5° variance)

Fluke VT02 vs. Fluke VT04

Fluke VT04 is more expensive than the Fluke VT02. The latter, however, is compact in shape and size.

It utilizes the warm pyroelectric ceramic sensors to catch both the thermal and visual images. Its blended modes are three instead of five. This notwithstanding, all the modes are alike in all aspects.

Verdict

Owing to its elegant design, troubleshooting is a lot easier. Over and above this, the camera yields professional quality outcomes and images.

This it does without having you train prior to using it. Being cheap, it is the one to choose if you have less money at your disposal.

3.) FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Imager

Generally speaking, this is a highly sensitive detector camera. It has the ability to note variations in heat levels from -140°F to 3020°F.

By using it, you will be able to detect the minutest alterations in temperature levels. You will hence be able to determine any insulation leaks that may be hidden from your ordinary field of view.

In its entirety, this camera combines the thermal and detector features to give rise to detailed image outcomes. It further contains the VGA 640 x 480-pixel resolution. The thermal sensor is however 80 x 60 pixels.

Together, they deliver images whose resolutions measure 320 x 240. For all practical purposes, it can contain 500 radiometric images which are stored in the format of JPEG.

Each image, in turn, manages 4,800 individual temperature measurements.

Battery Life and Accessories

When its battery is full, the camera can operate seamlessly for well over two hours. It comes along with a charger which plugs off easily. It also contains hardware components which are useful and facilitate the fieldwork.

The transfer of data is made possible by the included USB cable.

FLIR Software

You will enjoy that ability to incorporate pertinent pieces of information and analyze the stored image. These two are made possible by the FLIR Tools Professional Reporting Software.

In all regards, this suite is top-performing as it contains all the relevant tools which are needful for showcasing the average, maximum and minimum temperature information.

This is not to mention that it contains spot meters and change color pallets.

Warranty Information

You will not have to incur unnecessary losses due to the existence of an excellent warranty. This warranty is provided for in the form of 2-10 scheme. That means 10 years for the thermal detector and 2 years for the rest of the parts.

You, however, have to register in advance to qualify for the same.

FLIR C2 vs. FLIR C3

Though similar in many aspects, these two cameras embody some inherent differences. For one, the C# contains Wi-Fi connectivity.

It hence lets you stream contents to and from the device in a wireless manner. In addition, it can catch more details and more modes than its competitor.

PROs 

  • Has plastic and rubber shells both of which extend its lifetime
  • Possesses the MSX imaging enhancement
  • May be operated via touchscreen and the buttons
  • Works well with the FLIR tools software which allows you to analyze your images
  • Gives off high-resolution images
  • Able to work well in wide temperature ranges
  • Contains the LED lighting as an option

CONs 

  • Lacks wireless transfer capability

Verdict

When all factors are put into consideration, this is not your basic model. That is because it contains many features which are only present in the complicated models.

It is however not too costly. Save yourself some money by getting to own it.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right camera might not be easy considering the many options that exist on the market. To be on the safe side, you have to consider these factors though. They will help you to narrow down to the one of choice: 

  • How much are you willing to part with?
  • What use do you plan to devote the camera to?
  • What is your intended frequency of camera use?

Determining how much you are able and willing to spend is, by all means, the first major step towards getting the best camera. Move on now to narrow your choice to the exact camera of your liking.

After that, you want to determine the use for which the camera is to serve. Are you going to use it merely for inspections?

This requires a simple camera that does not contain lots of complicated features. It is crucial that you be very realistic with your aspirations here.

Lastly, what is your intended frequency of camera use? If you plan to do so a few times in a typical year, and most likely in a non-professional setup, you can easily make do with a cheap camera.

You will, however, have to purchase an expensive and complicated camera if you happen to engage in professional inspection and imaging business. This also holds true if you handle matters photography on a day to day basis.