Best Cheap Thermal Imaging Camera – Buying Guide & Review 2020

A device can either capture heat or light. It cannot capture both of these simultaneously. A standard camera captures light, whereas a cheap thermal imaging camera takes pictures through heat. . The heat is in the form of infra-red waves that the object is omitting. These infrared thermal imaging cameras depict the temperatures with colors, yellow for hot and blue for cold. These colors deepen or lighten according to the temperature specifications.  Most of these are handheld and are controlled by a trigger.

The lens is pointed in the direction of the object and the focus is made on the heat being emitted from the object. The phased array detects these infra-red waves and the pixels in the array change these waves into electronic signals. A specific mathematical calculation is done according to which all the sensed temperatures are given specific colors.  The matrix of color is sent to the memory and an image is formed on the screen.



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  • Color grey

  • weight4.6ounces

  • Item model number

  • Screen size 2inch 

  • color black

  • weight 14ounces

  •  weight 0,035ounces

  • color blue

  •  battery power source

  • Style10s 

  • color black

  • Warranty 1year

Things to be considered before buying an inexpensive thermal imaging camera

Highest resolution detector within budget

 Low cost thermal imaging camera usually has lower pixels than a standard DSLR, which is why it is important to consider this feature. High resolution thermal imaging camera lets you measure small objects from long distance and helps create a sharper and more price image. A display resolution is different than detectors. Mostly, the brands boast about good LCD displays but the size is useless if the image is pixelated. It does not only provide accurate quantitative results, it showcases fine details as well that help in decision making.

Built in visible light camera

The newly found affordable thermal imaging camera comes with the availability of capturing visible light pictures as well. You don’t have to carry separate equipment for standard pictures because a lot of cameras come with 3 to 5 megapixel digital camera that simultaneously captures light and thermal pictures.  These pictures can documented and compared. It should also have a built in flashlight for picture capturing in darker areas. Built in laser pointers let you capture the exact spot you want by shining the light on them.

Supports standard file format

Many infrared thermal imaging cameras don’t support files. Separate software has used to save those pictures or to document them. Others have an option of JPEG storage capability that lets you capture all the information, including the temperature and email it to customers. Some of these JPEGs can easily transported from the camera to a device if it supports Wi-Fi compatibility.


There is a vast variety of focus mechanism to choose from in a cheap but good quality camera. For simple point and shoot, buy a fixed camera. In case you want precise distance measurements, go for manual. An auto focus lets you automatically focus on the target. A laser assisted focus has a built in laser to measure the distance and make adjustments accordingly.  A multi focal focus captures multiple pictures and blends them to form one perfect image.

Temperature range

A low cost thermal camera has a wide range of temperatures to choose from, ranging from 14 degree Fahrenheit to 300 degrees. The temperature is automatically adjust according to your need, however it should available. Always choose the range in terms of when you will be using the best budget thermal imaging camera.

Color palette

It is beneficial to have a wide color palette because different colors help in making a more accurate picture. The scale should range from amber to gray, making each temperature a different color. Color palettes can usually changed in the camera settings. Moreover, a color alarm alerts you about any unusual color, different from the routine.

Best 4 infrared cheap thermal imaging camera

1. Flir C2 – Compact Thermal Camera


  • Manufacturer- FLIR systems
  • Weight- 4.6 ounces
  • Item model number- standard C-2
  • Color- gray
  • Material- borosilicate glass

FLIR is known for providing the cheap thermal camera used in many military operations. It is a standalone device that can fit into your pocket. It is portable and can be carried around wherever you want. Filer has been scientifically tested to withstand a two meter drop and it is durable even during the toughest jobs. This inexpensive thermal imaging camera is made up of a very sturdy material that protects it at all times. It has a patented MSX technology that gives you extra clear view and adds key visuals to the image produced.

Moreover, this low cost thermal imaging camera has the Wi-Fi connectivity feature so that you can directly send images and files to the customer of the viewer. Even though the screen itself is small, the view is full and precise. The three inch touchscreen is easily to manipulate and use. It has the ability to measure temperatures ranges from 10 degree Celsius to 150 degrees.  The storing of 4800 pixels helps ensure the picture quality. The wide variety of color determines specific temperate ranges easily.

What we like
  • The FLIR tools software for processing and analyzing
  • Allows real time screening through USBs
  • Has the ability to take standard and thermal pictures simultaneity

2. FLIR TG165 – Spot Thermal Camera 



  • Manufacturer- FLIR system
  • Weight- 14. Ounces
  • Color- black
  • Item model number- TG165
  • Screen size- 2 inch

FLIR brings us another best budget thermal imaging camera with professional use. It has a built in laser light that works from a distance of 4 inches for extra focus on the object. The object temperature range is from -25 degree Celsius to 380 degree, which is higher than most other brands that claim to have cheap but good quality has a work time of 100,000 hours and has an operating temperature range of -10 degree Celsius to 45 degrees.

The advanced IR imaging engine lets instantly catches the increased temperature and detects it. Moreover, this cheap thermal night vision camera has been equipped with a flashlight as well. You are alarmed about the extra hot spots so that they can be measured through a safe distance. This low cost thermal camera also allows you to capture these pictures and instantly save them through USB or transfer them into a laptop. It is compact in size and hence can be carried around everywhere.

What we like
  • Ease of portability
  • Durability
  • It is a handheld thermal imaging camera
  • Has a built in laser

3. Seek Thermal Reveal


  • Manufacturer- seek thermal
  • Item weight- 0.035 ounces
  • Item model number- RW-AAA
  • Color- blue
  • Power source- battery powered

Seek thermal brings us another best thermal imaging camera with exceptional features. It has the reveal f unction which lets you witness all the problems regarding the product on screen, making it the best thermal imaging camera. It showcases electrical and mechanical failures, energy loses, water damage, heat problems etc. the micro SD card lets you save pictures instantly directly and the thermography feature displays a non-contact temperature reading of the object. Even though it is a low cost thermal imaging camera, it has a high powered 300 lumen LED flashlight with adjustable brightness.

The 36 degree field of view and the 500 feet distance option make the work easier and more efficient. The 206 into 156 thermal sensors ensure precision and accurateness while working. The availability of flashlight makes it capable of working during day and night. It has a working temperature range from -40 degrees to 626 Fahrenheit. The rechargeable battery lasts for up to 10 hours and the large color display makes everything clearer. The rubber casing protects it from external and internal damaging.

What we like
  • Durability
  • Accurately identifies all the heat loss
  • Has button controls for easy handling

4. Seek Thermal CompactXR



  • Manufacturer- seek thermal
  • Size- compactXR
  • Color- black
  • Style- IOS
  • Weight- 13.6 ounces
  • Warranty- 1 year

Seek is one of the best brands and is a must have on one of our thermal imaging camera is a professional outdoorsmen tool. As the best thermal imaging camera, it has the ability to turn your phone into an outdoor thermal camera. It has a 206 into 156 thermal sensor and works best even when the light is low. Moreover, the extra range detection helps you adjust the distance and take prior precautions. This handheld thermal imaging camera does not require battery or charging. It works best with your IOS device only.

The waterproof case lets it work efficiently during rain as well. The free seek mobile app lets you keep a track of all the pictures you take, and lets you save them all as JPEGs. This small thermal imaging camera is highly portable and can be carried to any hunting or hiking trip. It is directly plugged into the phone and converts the thermal imaged into visible images with colors. It has a 20 degree field view and provides a detection range of up to 1800 feet. The temperature is measured in Fahrenheit’s and has a range of up to -40 to 626.  The application lets you track it incase it’s lost and alarms you about security and situational awareness.

What we like
  • Works well with IOS devices
  • Ease of use through application
  • Portability

What are the uses of an inexpensive thermal imaging camera?

Heating and cooling issues

 These issues cause heat or cool air to escape from the house or let unnecessary air enter, which causes problems in many machineries. This results in overworked systems that cause high energy bills. The best budget thermal imaging camera will let you decipher the problem beforehand through difference in colors.

Animal health

Pets cannot talk which is why it becomes difficult to figure out their problem. After using a low cost thermal camera, you can easily see where there is internal bleeding or inflamed organs. Moreover, you can figure out if the animal has fever or is suffering from bone damage. The difference in heat throughout the body helps a lot.


It was initially made by military for security reasons. This cheap but good quality camera is helpful especially during night time. You can use it during hiking to see what snapped the branch late at night. Moreover, if a criminal is hiding in a building you can easily detect him through this device. There is no need for you to go inside every room. The body heat coming off of him will make him stand out. The security checkers in malls have these cameras installed to stop guns etc. as well.

Fire alarms

Most firemen use this device to see where the intensity of fire is more and where it is less. This helps them decide the route to taken for saving the people in the building. They can also figure out all the areas where there are humans so that they don’t waste time in other areas.


In conclusion, cheap thermal imaging camera have become a necessity in today’s world. They have proven to be essential over and over again, be it during security problems or while constructing a house. They are very easy to use and require no extra efforts. The added features make the whole process easier, especially when you can take normal pictures as well. We presents you with the four best thermal imaging cameras that can found online, along with their uses and a buyer’s guide. Hopefully, your will find your perfect device.


How much is a thermal camera?

Generally, cheap thermal imaging cameras are very cheap but it usually depends on the features you want in your device if it has a lot of extra features e.g. a standard built in camera and laser light, then it will cost more than average.

What is the best thermal imaging camera?

Seek thermal provides you with the best thermal imaging cameras.

What is the cheapest thermal imaging camera?

FLIR and seek thermal provide the best and cheapest cameras.

How much does a thermal imaging camera cost?

It usually costs around 200 dollars to 500 dollars. 

Can you hide from a thermal imaging camera?

It is almost impossible to hide from a thermal imaging camera because you keep radiating infra-red waves from your body. Stopping these waves somehow will be very toxic for your body and health.

How can I make a thermal imaging camera at home?

Unfortunately, that is not possible. You can connect the thermal imaging device to your mobile, but other than it is impossible.

Can I use my phone as a thermal camera?

Yes there is a certain thermal imaging device, similar to seek thermal device that will make your phone a thermal image camera.

Can a cell phone camera see infrared?

No it cannot unless and until you connect a thermal imaging device to it.

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