Important Things to Know Before You Buy a Thermal Infrared Camera

Important Things to Know Before You Buy a Thermal Infrared Camera

A thermal infrared camera is an essential piece of equipment for identifying failures in electrical systems or components before they happen. While the technology of these cameras is relatively advanced, the concept is simple: identify the transfer of infrared heat radiation from an object, so the user can identify whether or not it is abnormal and predict possible failure.
Thanks to the functionality and the ability of a thermal infrared camera in minimizing the chances of expensive equipment failure, adding this equipment to your company maintenance program is a must. Below are some criteria that you should consider before making this important investment.

Picture Quality

While most of the thermal infrared camera models available on the market come with some visual camera capability, their image resolution is often the same or inferior to that of a camera phone image. A poor-quality visual image can detract from report findings and may mean additional follow-up readings. Hence the importance of choosing an infrared camera that produces high-quality pictures. As a rule of thumb, additional pixels means more valuable and accurate temperature information to isolate electrical issues.

Image Modes

All thermal cameras are designed to provide a thermal image of a trouble hotspot. But being able to get a visual image is a major plus when it comes to providing context. The visual image can be added to a report for presentation to the client to make it easier to understand the exact reason of the problem.


High-quality cameras have better designed infrared detector arrays, which allow them to provide temperature measurements that are more accurate and conclusive. Much of the accuracy of the instrument is derived from its pixel count – better resolution means more points of temperature information.

Easy to Use

All thermal infrared cameras feature menu-driven functions and ‘soft-keys’, and a set of buttons that change functions. Although there are cameras with simplified functionality (featuring as few as three buttons), this limited number of buttons means that to perform the most basic functions you will have to click through several menus to get to basic task or setting. Cameras that feature more buttons, on the other hand, allow direct access to frequently used functions.
It is important to understand that no thermal camera is right for every thermal imaging task. But if you choose a camera with these considerations in mind, it is likely you will have an equipment that will offer superior performance for the vast majority of field applications.