With the right kind of thermal imaging camera, you can explore the world around you in a completely new way. The best part is that you don’t need to spend a fortune on professional equipment that scientists or the police use.
Instead, you can buy equipment that you can use with your Android phone.
But with so many different makes and models to select from, how do you choose the right one for your needs? In this article, we look at five of the best thermal cameras for Android, as well as offer advice on selecting the right one.
Keep in mind that choosing the right one for you will largely depend on what you intend to use such equipment for.
5 of the Best Thermal Cameras for Android
Here we take a look at what we feel are five of the best thermal cameras you can buy to use with any Android device.
1. FLIR ONE Gen 3
With the FLIR ONE GEN 3, you have the chance to transform Android phones and devices into a thermal infrared camera that can recognize different heat signatures.
Once connected to your Android device, the FLIR ONE Gen 3 can take thermal images and videos for you. With the app that comes with this device, you have the opportunity to edit any pictures or videos yourself.
This is a lightweight accessory that allows you to measure temperature variations.
It comes with MSX technology that combines thermal and visible spectrum, providing you with more enhanced and detailed images and resolutions.
The addition of the free mobile thermal camera app provides you with great tips and tricks. It also features multiple spot meters. Plus, the inclusion of automated reporting allows you to document all your findings easily.
- It is available at an affordable price
- It comes with effective thermal imaging capabilities
- It has multiple spot meters
- It has easy automated reporting so that you can document your findings
- It is lightweight, so it is easy to handle and carry
- You cannot switch between MSX, thermal, or visual views
- It has far fewer metering options unlike some other thermal cameras
- You may find it isn’t as accurate as some other models
2. Seek Thermal CW-AAA
This small device will help you find things in the dark and provides you with a thermal snapshot of the environment around you.
It allows you to quickly transform your smartphone or tablet into a thermal imager camera for use around your home.
The Seek Thermal CW-AAA model comes with a 206 x 156 thermal sensor.
Like other models, it can provide videos and images of the area you inspect and differentiate between high and low temperatures. You can see the differences in temperature as it comes with a choice of nine colors.
It can detect differences in temperature up to 1,000 feet. Unlike other models, this one doesn’t require recharging or replacing batteries as it runs off the lower power mode on your Android device.
This thermal imaging device also comes with a manual focus dial, so you can control how precise the visible images produced by this thermal camera are.
- It is relatively cheap to buy
- It is lightweight, versatile, and flexible
- It comes with a much higher-resolution thermal imager compared to some of its competitors
- It can detect variations in temperature around you quickly
- The images captured are just in raw thermal data, so the visual images don’t contain much detail
- You will need to purchase an adapter if you want to use it with LG Android devices
3. Hti-Xintai Thermal Imaging Camera
This thermal camera can attach directly to your Android device using a USB-C or Micro USB port. Once connected, you can view the variations in temperature around you that it can detect.
The Hti-Xintai is small and lightweight. It measures just 1.9 x 1.4 x 1.1 inches and doesn’t include a battery as it uses the power from your device’s battery to provide it with energy.
It can identify variations in temperature from -4 to +752 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 to +400 degrees Celsius).
Not only is this thermal camera from Hti-Xintai waterproof, but it is also dustproof. Plus, it comes with the ability to manually focus on a particular heat source.
It is easy to connect to your Android device as it comes with a USB-C to micro USB adaptor. Plus, unlike other makes and models of thermal imaging cameras, you will find the lens on this product is detachable.
- It has very high-resolution capabilities
- It comes with great temperature ranges
- It is very sensitive to detecting variations in temperatures
- You can manually focus on specific areas in a high-quality thermal image or video
- Not only does it take images it allows you to record video
- As you capture images, it will provide you with thermal data
- You may find that the app doesn’t work as well as it should. You may find it better to use a third-party app such as Thermviewer
- You may find that it loses focus often
- Getting a response from customer service can be difficult if something goes wrong
4. FLIR ONE Pro Thermal Imaging Camera
The FLIR ONE Pro is one of the most popular thermal imaging cameras you can get for use with Android devices and iOS ones.
There are three main reasons why this particular thermal camera is so popular – it comes with an excellent infrared sensor, a great camera, and a small battery that powers it.
This device easily connects to Android or iOS devices using the USB-C, micro USB, or lighting connector.
As with other devices like this, the FLIR ONE Pro is fitted with an infrared sensor, but this one has a 160 x 120 resolution. As for the visual camera, this is a 1440 x 1080 and includes MSX image enhancement technology.
Unlike other models we’ve already reviewed, this one is powered by its own battery. It will provide you with between 45 and 60 minutes of operation before the rechargeable batteries need to be charged.
To use this thermal camera you will need to download the FLIR app to your device. It is available through the Google Play Store or the Apple app store.
Once installed on your device and connected the camera to it, you are ready to start using it to capture thermal images or video.
- The MSX feature will provide you with high-resolution images
- It has a very high thermal sensitivity
- It not only takes images but also allows you to record videos
- Any images you take will hold temperature scale data
- Allows for multi-spot measuring
- The thermal camera app included is straightforward and efficient to use
- The battery needs to be recharged after 45 to 60 minutes of use
- You cannot recharge the battery directly from your device
- You may find the high-temperature mode on this camera isn’t particularly useful
- This product is not waterproof or dustproof
5. PerfectPrime IR202 (IR)
If you are after an affordable thermal camera for your Android device, look no further than the PerfectPrime IR202.
It is an updated version of PerfectPrime’sIR0102 thermal camera, which is still available for about the same price and comes with some extra features.
Like other thermal cameras, you can easily connect it to any Android device. Once you’ve downloaded the app to your device, the camera is ready to use.
For such a reasonably priced thermal imaging camera, you will find it not only allows you to take images and videos but also to review them.
Additionally, it lets you see low and high temperatures and where the center spot temperature is. Unlike other makes and models around the same price point, this one comes with a temperature alarm.
Also included with this model is a filter option so you can remove any unwanted noise from what you are looking at, as well as a function that allows you to easily switch from normal to thermal images.
- Power for this thermal camera is provided via your device’s battery
- It comes with a two-year warranty as standard, but if you register it with the company, they offer an additional year’s warranty
- It is available at a reasonable price
- It comes with a 15Hz refresh rate
- It comes in a protective case
- It provides very accurate temperature readings
- You have to wait for measurement data to find out how accurate the temperature readings are
- You may find it uses up power from your Android battery quickly since the main camera needs to stay on
- Imaging may not be as good as on some other makes and models
Buying Guide – Things To Consider
When deciding which is the best thermal camera for your needs, you should consider a few features that will enhance your experience with the product.
1. Temperature Range
Typically, the manufacturer of these devices will show you the minimum and maximum temperatures their products are accurately able to read. When it comes to these cameras that you attach to your Android device, they typically have a thermal sensitivity of between -4 and +248 degrees Fahrenheit.
When shopping for such compact devices, consider what the lowest and highest temperatures will be when you conduct an inspection.
2. Thermal Resolution
Thermal resolution is vital to consider because it helps you to quickly identify any potential problems.
Cameras with a low-thermal resolution will help you to find where the problem is but will not show the extent of the problem. Alternatively, thermal cameras fitted with a high-resolution camera can better identify how big or small the problem is.
A high-resolution camera will also provide a more detailed image or video. Choosing a camera with a thermal resolution of upwards of 120 x 60 pixels is best. However, the best would be one with a thermal resolution of 320 x 240 pixels.
3. Accuracy and Repeatability
You should look closely at the camera’s plus and minus temperature ranges. It is this feature that will help you to determine if there is a problem with your hot water boiler or not.
The readings given by these devices for heat detection purposes are generally provided to you in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius.
Several factors are taken into consideration by these thermal cameras when producing a reading, and these will affect how the infrared energy being produced is read.
The factors that are taken into consideration include the following:
- Ambient temperature
- The camera’s response to the temperatures
- The emissivity transmittance
- Atmospheric temperature
The results produced by these devices must be repeatable, ensuring that the camera is more accurate.
How accurate is a thermal camera?
The accuracy of the readings provided by a thermal camera will differ from one make and model to another. But generally, you will find that the average one has an accuracy of between plus or minus four degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I use a thermal camera to see through walls or concrete?
Unfortunately, most thermal cameras do not have the capabilities to provide thermal readings through walls, concrete, or other hard surfaces. This is because these kinds of surfaces can block infrared radiation.
Can a thermal camera detect plumbing leaks?
Yes, this is one of the many ways this equipment can be used. It detects these kinds of problems by being able to read subtle differences in the temperature of the water in the pipe or where it is leaking from.
A thermal camera that you can connect to a smartphone isn’t just for use by professionals like plumbers or electricians. It can prove to be an effective tool that you can use yourself to help reduce repair costs to your home.
Whatever it is you need to check in your home, whether you think you have a water leak or a problem with your electrics, thermal cameras for Android devices can prove helpful in identifying hot spots.
Not only could these devices save you a lot of heartaches, but also a lot of money as you will be able to identify any problems before they get any worse.
Have you tried using such equipment on your Android? If you haven’t, are you planning to do so? Share your experiences with us by leaving a comment below.