The best thermal scanner is a device used to measure the surface temperature of an object or individual without making physical contact. It is designed to detect and capture the infrared radiation emitted by an object or person and convert it into a temperature reading. The technology behind thermal scanners is based on the principle that all objects emit infrared radiation, and the intensity of the radiation corresponds to the object’s temperature.
Thermal scanners are commonly used in various applications, including:
Medical and healthcare
Thermal scanners can be used to measure body temperature without direct contact, making them useful for identifying individuals with elevated body temperature, which may be indicative of a fever or an illness like a flu or COVID-19. They are often employed in airports, hospitals, and public spaces for screening purposes.
Industrial and manufacturing
Thermal scanners can be used for monitoring and detecting temperature variations in industrial processes, machinery, and equipment. They help identify potential issues such as overheating, malfunctioning components, or areas of excessive heat.
Building and energy efficiency
Thermal scanners can be used for energy audits, building inspections, and detecting heat loss or insulation problems in structures. They can identify areas of heat leakage, inadequate insulation, or faulty heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Security and surveillance
Thermal scanners are used for perimeter security, surveillance, and threat detection. They can detect the presence of individuals in low light or obscured conditions, making them useful in law enforcement, border control, and military applications.
Thermal scanners can come in various forms, including handheld devices, fixed-mounted systems, or integrated into larger equipment. They are typically equipped with a thermal sensor, such as a microbolometer or an infrared camera, which detects and measures the infrared radiation emitted by the object or person being scanned. The temperature readings are then displayed on a screen or recorded for further analysis.
What is Thermal Scanner
A thermal scanner, also known as a thermal imaging camera or infrared camera, is a device that uses infrared radiation to create images based on the temperature variations of objects and surfaces. It is capable of detecting and displaying the infrared energy emitted or reflected by an object, which allows users to visualize temperature differences.
Thermal scanners work by measuring the amount of infrared radiation emitted by objects and converting it into a visible image. Every object with a temperature above absolute zero (-273.15 degrees Celsius or -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit) emits some level of infrared radiation. The camera captures this radiation and generates an image where different colors or shades represent different temperatures.
These devices are commonly used for various applications, including:
Thermal scanners are frequently used in medical settings to measure body temperature. They can quickly detect elevated skin temperatures, which may indicate a fever or an abnormal condition.
Security and Surveillance
Thermal scanners are employed in security systems to detect individuals or objects based on their heat signatures. They can be used to identify potential threats, monitor crowd movement, or detect intruders in low-light conditions.
Thermal scanners are valuable tools for inspecting buildings for insulation issues, electrical faults, and water leaks. They can identify areas of heat loss, moisture infiltration, or overheating electrical components.
Thermal scanners aid firefighters in locating hotspots, identifying fire spread, and assessing structural integrity. They can penetrate smoke and darkness, providing vital information to responders in hazardous environments.
Thermal scanners are used in various industries for preventive maintenance, troubleshooting, and quality control. They can detect anomalies in machinery, identify heat buildup in electrical systems, and monitor production processes.
The advancement of technology has led to the development of portable and handheld thermal scanners, making them more accessible and user-friendly.
However, it’s important to note that thermal scanners are not medical devices on their own and should not replace medical diagnoses. They are effective tools for initial screening but should be followed up with more accurate temperature measurement methods for medical purposes.
The 5 Best Thermal Scanner for 2023
Here are five popular thermal scanners that were widely regarded as some of the best options available at the time:
1. FLIR E95
The FLIR E95 is a high-performance thermal imaging camera with advanced features and a wide temperature measurement range. It offers excellent image quality and can detect temperature differences as small as 0.03°C.
The FLIR E95 is a high-performance thermal imaging camera produced by FLIR Systems. It is part of FLIR’s Exx-Series, which is designed for professional and industrial applications that require advanced thermal imaging capabilities.
Key features of the FLIR E95 include:
High-resolution thermal imaging: The E95 utilizes a high-definition 640 x 480 pixel infrared detector, which allows for detailed and accurate thermal imaging.
Advanced thermal sensitivity: It has a thermal sensitivity of less than 0.03 degrees Celsius, enabling it to detect even subtle temperature differences.
Temperature measurement range: The camera can measure temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Celsius to 1,500 degrees Celsius (-40 to 2,732 degrees Fahrenheit), making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
Multiple imaging modes: The E95 offers several imaging modes, including infrared, visual, and MSX® (Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging), which enhances thermal images with visible light details for better context and interpretation.
Interchangeable lenses: The camera supports interchangeable lenses, allowing users to select the appropriate lens for their specific needs, whether it’s wide-angle, telephoto, or macro.
Laser-assisted autofocus: The E95 features a laser distance meter that assists with autofocus, ensuring sharp and accurate thermal images.
Wi-Fi connectivity: It has built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, enabling wireless communication and image transfer to compatible devices or cloud storage platforms.
Onboard analysis tools: The camera includes various onboard analysis tools such as measurement functions, temperature alarms, and customizable measurement spots, enabling users to analyze and quantify thermal data directly on the camera.
Rugged design: The E95 is built to withstand demanding environments and is rated to withstand a 2-meter (6.6-foot) drop, ensuring durability in the field.
Overall, the FLIR E95 offers advanced thermal imaging capabilities and a range of features suitable for professional users in industries such as electrical inspections, mechanical troubleshooting, building diagnostics, research, and development.
2. Seek Thermal Compact Pro
The Seek Thermal Compact Pro is a compact and affordable thermal camera attachment that connects to your smartphone. It provides a thermal resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and a detection range of up to 550 meters.
3. Hikvision DS-2TD1217B-6/PA
The Hikvision DS-2TD1217B-6/PA is a handheld thermal scanner that offers high sensitivity and accurate temperature measurement. It features a 160 x 120 resolution sensor and a temperature measurement range of -20°C to 550°C.
The Hikvision DS-2TD1217B-6/PA is a thermal network bullet camera produced by Hikvision, a leading manufacturer of video surveillance equipment. This camera is specifically designed for thermal imaging applications and is part of Hikvision’s Thermographic Bullet Camera series.
Here are some key features and specifications of the Hikvision DS-2TD1217B-6/PA:
Thermal Imaging: The camera utilizes a thermal sensor to capture images based on the heat emitted by objects in its field of view. It can operate in complete darkness and is effective in various environmental conditions.
Resolution: The camera offers a thermal resolution of 160 x 120 pixels, which allows it to detect and visualize heat signatures with reasonable detail.
Temperature Measurement: One of the main applications of this camera is temperature measurement. It can accurately measure the temperature of objects and provide real-time temperature readings.
Image Enhancement: The DS-2TD1217B-6/PA features various image enhancement technologies, such as digital detail enhancement, 3D noise reduction, and adaptive contrast enhancement. These technologies help to improve the clarity and quality of the thermal images.
Alarm Functions: The camera supports different alarm functions, including temperature exception alarms, line crossing detection, and intrusion detection. These features enable the camera to provide automated alerts and notifications when specific events occur.
IP66-Rated Housing: The camera is housed in an IP66-rated enclosure, which means it is dust-tight and protected against powerful jets of water. This makes it suitable for outdoor installations and ensures its durability in challenging weather conditions.
PoE Support: The camera supports Power over Ethernet (PoE), allowing for both data and power to be transmitted over a single Ethernet cable. This simplifies the installation process and provides flexibility in camera placement.
Network Connectivity: It is a network camera and supports network protocols such as TCP/IP, HTTP, DHCP, DNS, RTP/RTSP, and more. This enables easy integration into existing surveillance systems and remote access to the camera’s video feed.
VMS Compatibility: The DS-2TD1217B-6/PA is compatible with Hikvision’s video management software (VMS) solutions, allowing users to manage and control multiple cameras from a central interface.
4. FLIR ONE Pro
The FLIR ONE Pro is another smartphone attachment that turns your mobile device into a thermal camera. It offers a resolution of 160 x 120 pixels and features FLIR’s MSX technology for enhanced image clarity.
The FLIR ONE Pro is a thermal imaging camera attachment designed for smartphones and tablets. It is developed by FLIR Systems, a company known for its expertise in thermal imaging technology.
The FLIR ONE Pro utilizes a miniature thermal camera to capture thermal images and videos. It attaches to the charging port of a compatible iOS or Android device and connects via a dedicated app. The camera uses a combination of thermal and visible light sensors to provide both thermal and standard images simultaneously, overlaying the thermal data onto the visible image for better context.
Some key features of the FLIR ONE Pro include:
Thermal Imaging: It can detect and display temperature differences, enabling you to see heat patterns and variances that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. This can be useful in various applications, including home inspections, electrical diagnostics, HVAC maintenance, and wildlife observation.
Enhanced Resolution: The FLIR ONE Pro offers a higher thermal resolution compared to previous FLIR models, allowing for more detailed and accurate thermal imaging.
Multiple Measurement Modes: It supports several measurement modes, such as spot metering and area measurements, which help you quantify temperature variations and identify hot or cold spots within the captured thermal image.
MSX Technology: The FLIR ONE Pro utilizes MSX (Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging) technology, which enhances the thermal images by adding visible light details to provide better overall clarity and context.
Rugged Design: The FLIR ONE Pro is designed to withstand tough environments and has a durable construction. It features a protective casing and can withstand drops from up to 1.8 meters (6 feet).
Battery Life: It has its own built-in rechargeable battery, so it doesn’t drain the smartphone’s battery excessively. The battery life can vary depending on usage but generally provides several hours of continuous operation.
The FLIR ONE Pro offers a portable and affordable solution for thermal imaging, leveraging the convenience of smartphones or tablets. It has applications in various fields, from professional use in industries like construction and maintenance to personal use for home improvement and outdoor activities.
5. Fluke TiX580
The Fluke TiX580 is a professional-grade thermal imaging camera with a high-resolution 640 x 480 sensor. It offers various advanced features like laser-assisted autofocus, wireless connectivity, and advanced analytics.
The Fluke TiX580 is a thermal imaging camera manufactured by Fluke Corporation, a well-known company specializing in test and measurement equipment. The TiX580 is designed for professional use in various applications, including industrial, electrical, and building inspections.
Here are some key features of the Fluke TiX580:
High-Resolution Thermal Imaging: The TiX580 offers a high thermal resolution, typically 640 x 480 pixels, which allows for detailed thermal imagery and accurate temperature measurements.
SuperResolution Technology: Fluke’s SuperResolution technology enhances the camera’s thermal resolution by capturing and blending multiple images, resulting in even greater image detail.
Advanced Thermal Sensitivity: The TiX580 has a high thermal sensitivity, allowing it to detect subtle temperature differences and identify potential issues that may not be visible to the naked eye.
LaserSharp Auto Focus: This feature enables precise focus on the target, ensuring clear and sharp images. The built-in laser distance meter helps measure the distance to the target for accurate focusing.
IR Fusion Technology: Fluke’s IR Fusion technology combines thermal and visible light images, providing a blended view for better analysis and easier identification of problems.
Wireless Connectivity: The TiX580 offers wireless connectivity options, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, allowing you to transfer images and data to your computer or mobile device for further analysis and reporting.
Rugged and Durable Design: The camera is designed to withstand challenging working environments, with a rugged housing that can handle drops, dust, and water splashes, ensuring durability and longevity.
On-board Analysis Tools: The TiX580 includes various analysis tools, such as spot meters, area markers, and customizable on-screen temperature measurements, which help you analyze and interpret thermal data effectively.
Large Touchscreen Display: The camera features a large, high-resolution touchscreen display, making it easy to navigate menus, view and analyze images, and make adjustments.
Interchangeable Lenses: The TiX580 supports interchangeable lenses, allowing you to choose the appropriate lens for your specific application and field of view requirements.
These features make the Fluke TiX580 a versatile and reliable thermal imaging camera for professionals in a wide range of industries.
Please note that technology evolves rapidly, and newer models may have been released since my knowledge cutoff date. It’s advisable to research and compare the latest options available in the market to make an informed decision.
When it comes to buying a thermal scanner, there are several factors you should consider to ensure you get the best device for your needs. Here’s a buying guide to help you make an informed decision:
Purpose and Application:
Determine the primary purpose of the thermal scanner. Is it for personal use, professional use, or industrial applications?
Consider the specific application, such as medical screenings, HVAC inspections, electrical inspections, or building diagnostics.
Thermal Resolution and Sensitivity:
Thermal resolution refers to the number of pixels in the thermal image. Higher resolution provides more detailed images.
Sensitivity determines the smallest temperature difference the scanner can detect. A lower sensitivity value indicates a more accurate device.
Check the temperature range of the scanner and ensure it covers the range you require for your specific application.
Some scanners have extended temperature ranges suitable for specialized applications.
Image Quality and Display:
Look for scanners with high-quality image sensors and display screens.
A larger screen with good resolution will allow you to view and analyze thermal images more effectively.
Consider the accuracy of temperature measurements provided by the scanner. This is especially important for medical and industrial applications.
Look for scanners with a low margin of error in temperature readings.
Ease of Use and Ergonomics:
Check the user interface and controls of the scanner. It should be intuitive and easy to operate.
Consider the size, weight, and ergonomics of the device, especially if you’ll be using it for extended periods.
Connectivity and Software:
Determine if the scanner has connectivity options like USB, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth for transferring data.
Check if the manufacturer provides software for analyzing and managing thermal images.
Consider the battery life of the scanner. Longer battery life is beneficial, especially for outdoor or mobile applications.
Look for scanners with rechargeable batteries or the option to use external power sources.
Brand and Warranty:
Choose reputable brands known for producing reliable thermal scanners.
Check the warranty terms and customer support provided by the manufacturer.
Price and Budget:
Set a budget based on your requirements and the features you need.
Compare prices from different manufacturers to ensure you get the best value for your money.
Reviews and Recommendations:
Read customer reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources to gather feedback on the performance and reliability of the scanners you’re considering.
By considering these factors, you can narrow down your options and choose the best thermal scanner that meets your specific needs and budget. Remember to compare different models, features, and prices before making a final decision.
Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about thermal scanners:
Q1: What is a thermal scanner?
A thermal scanner is a device that uses infrared technology to capture and measure the heat emitted by objects or individuals. It converts this thermal information into a visual representation called a thermal image, which allows users to identify variations in temperature.
Q2: How does a thermal scanner work?
Thermal scanners work by detecting and measuring the infrared radiation emitted by objects. The device uses a special sensor called an infrared detector or microbolometer to capture this radiation. The data is then processed and displayed as a thermal image, which shows the varying temperatures across the scanned area.
Q3: What are the main applications of thermal scanners?
Thermal scanners have a wide range of applications across various industries, including:
- Medical screenings: Detecting elevated body temperatures for fever screening.
- Building inspections: Identifying insulation issues, air leaks, and water damage.
- Electrical inspections: Locating hotspots in electrical systems to prevent malfunctions or fires.
- HVAC inspections: Analyzing heating and cooling systems for efficiency and performance.
- Security: Monitoring and detecting individuals in low-light or dark environments.
Q4: Are thermal scanners accurate in measuring temperature?
Thermal scanners can provide accurate temperature measurements when used correctly and calibrated appropriately. However, it’s important to note that factors such as distance, ambient temperature, and device settings can affect accuracy. It’s recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage and calibration.
Q5: Can thermal scanners detect COVID-19 or other illnesses?
Thermal scanners can help identify individuals with elevated body temperatures, which can be an indication of fever. While fever is a symptom of various illnesses, including some viral infections, it does not specifically detect or diagnose COVID-19. Thermal screening should be used as an initial screening tool and must be complemented by other diagnostic methods for a conclusive diagnosis.
Q6: Can thermal scanners see through clothing or walls?
Thermal scanners can detect and display the heat emitted by objects or individuals, but they cannot “see through” clothing or walls. They are designed to measure surface temperatures and are limited to what is visible to their sensors.
Q7: Are there any safety precautions when using thermal scanners?
When using thermal scanners, it’s important to consider the following safety precautions:
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage and safety guidelines.
- Maintain an appropriate distance between the scanner and the person or object being scanned.
- Ensure the environment has stable ambient conditions to avoid interference with the temperature readings.
- Regularly calibrate the scanner according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Understand the limitations of thermal scanning and use it as part of a comprehensive screening or diagnostic process.
In conclusion, purchasing a thermal scanner requires careful consideration of several factors. By determining your specific application, considering the resolution, sensitivity, temperature range, image quality, and display, as well as the measurement accuracy, ease of use, connectivity options, battery life, brand reputation, warranty, and budget, you can make an informed decision.
Thermal scanners are valuable tools used in various industries, including medical screenings, building inspections, electrical inspections, HVAC maintenance, and security applications. While they can provide accurate temperature measurements, it’s important to understand their limitations and use them as part of a comprehensive screening or diagnostic process.
Lastly, reading customer reviews, seeking recommendations, and comparing different models and prices will help you find the best thermal scanner that meets your needs and offers the best value for your investment. Remember to prioritize reputable brands and ensure that the scanner comes with reliable customer support and warranty coverage.