Best thermal cameras

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Thermal cameras, sometimes called infrared cameras, are used by professionals and home DIYers to spot differences in temperature that aren't visible to the naked eye. Their small profile lets you include them in your toolkit or even your pocket. They're useful when doing electrical work, checking for water leaks, or drafts around window framing. We picked the best thermal cameras for your projects.

Staff pick

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Hti-Xintai HT18 Thermal Imager

Five color schemes

The HT18 has a 3.2-inch full-color display and weighs only 0.83-pounds. There is 3GB of built-in memory and you can view thermal images in five different color schemes: rainbow, iron red, cold color, black and white, or white and black. The ergonomic grip makes it easy to point wherever you need to observe temperature differences, and makes one-handed operation a breeze. 

Most portable

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Plugs into your iOS device

Instead of carrying a separate device to monitor heat, this option plugs into your iOS charging port. It can capture thermal signatures from 4 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit to find any issues with electrical or water. After a 40-minute charge, you'll get approximately one hour of usage. 

Rugged design

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Seek Thermal Reveal

A built-in flashlight helps with small tasks

The case on this option is ruggedized to protect the screen and sensors from any damage, which is prone to happen during any construction project or in your tool bag. There are seven color palettes to choose from, and the sensor can detect heat signatures from -40 to 626 degrees Fahrenheit. As an added convenience, there is a 300-lumen flashlight built-in with a 10-hour battery. 

Hot and cold

Using a thermal imager takes the guesswork out of finding a problem with electrical or water issues inside your walls. For this task, we think the Hti-Xintai HT18 Thermal Imager is the best option for most people. It’s easy to hold and press the controls with one hand because of its form factor. The 3GB of on-board memory is also useful since there’s no SD card to keep track of when you’re on the move.

If you have an iOS device, then consider the FLIR ONE Pro. It has about an hour of battery life and can display the images on your devices screen. This option takes very little room to include it in your repair or construction kit, yet still offers a huge temperature detection range of 4 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit.