Thermal imaging cameras are powerful, cost-effective tools for building, mechanical, and electrical applications. Using such a camera can reveal problems in the home or building that lead to energy loss, humidity, and structural weaknesses caused by overheating equipment and machinery.
These cameras use infrared-sensitive sensors to detect sources emitting heat and cold air, as well as water leakages due to a faulty pipe. Both DIY-fanatics and professional maintenance workers can use thermal imaging cameras to help in identifying potential hazards lurking behind drywall from a safe distance.
In this article, we’re going to compare three thermal imaging cameras – the FLIR C2, the FLIR C3, and the Seek Thermal Reveal. Keep in mind that residential-use thermal imaging cameras aren’t as flashy as industrial-grade ones, though they’re a great solution for detecting invisible hot, cold, and wet sources. Let’s begin.
Temperature Detection Range
The temperature detection range is the most important factor to consider when purchasing a thermal imaging camera. For construction or home use, you’ll typically want a camera that can reach up to 300°F. If you work in a manufacturing facility, typically, you’ll want something that can reach upwards of 500°F. The FLIR C2 has a temperature range of between 14°F and 302°F, making it a great construction and residential-grade thermal camera.
The temperature detection range of the C3 is exactly the same as the C2. In fact, from the get-go, we’ll let you know now that there the C2 and the C3 are practically similar in build and specs – the main difference is in its connectivity (more on this later).
Seek Thermal Reveal
The Reveal by Seek Thermal can detect temperatures ranging between -40°F and 626°F. By definition, this thermal imaging camera is built to be used in manufacturing plants in detecting extremely hot and cold spots that could potentially cause long-term damage to sensitive equipment and machinery.
Conclusion: If you’re in need of a thermal imaging camera to check hot or cold spots behind your walls at home or at a construction site, then either of the FLIR cameras will suit you fine. If you’re commonly diagnosing extremely hot and cold spots or pieces of machinery, then the Reveal is the way to go.
Infrared Sensor Resolution
The more pixels there are, the more temperature measurements are made. Typically, industrial-grade thermal imaging cameras will reach upwards of 700,000 pixels, but for home and construction use, that may be unnecessary. The C2 has an IR sensor that measures 80 x 60 pixels in every shot. At 4,800 pixels total, it’s not the most extraordinary IR sensor out there, but it’s enough for light energy appraisal work.
So far in this article, we have yet to reach any differentiating specs between the C2 and the C3. This model also measures 80 x 60 pixels in every shot.
Seek Thermal Reveal
This bigger, more heavy-duty thermal camera has an IR sensor that measures 206 x 156 pixels for every shot. The more pixels packed into a single picture, the more meaningful the picture will become. Essentially, there are more temperature measurements being made in every photo.
Conclusion: Once again, the total IR sensor pixel-count only matters when working in certain situations. For most energy appraisals done in a residential or commercial building, you don’t need as fine a picture since, usually, hot and cold spots occur in limited areas. However, for manufacturing plans, a single imaging showing the whole of a piece of equipment or machinery can be meaningful in identifying which component is producing the most heat or is not being cooled thoroughly enough.
The camera’s ability to stay connected to another device – either via Wifi or Bluetooth technology – is a great feature to have, especially if you’re working in a professional setting where you need to send images instantaneously to your clients. Unfortunately, the C2 does not come equipped with any connectivity technology. You’re stuck extracting pictures from the SD card like some sort of caveman.
As for the C3, it comes with Wifi connectivity which lets users transfer images to other mobile devices in a snap. Workers who need to send pictures instantaneously to their higher-ups or clients will benefit from the wireless connectivity that comes with this model.
Seek Thermal Reveal
Once again, you’re going back to ancient methods of ejecting its SD card and inserting it into your laptop to extract and send photos.
Conclusion: The C3 wins this round by default. Basically, its Wifi connectivity means extra convenience when working in situations where you need to transfer pictures to clients or your bosses immediately. However, moving the pictures to your laptop first and sending them is another viable solution, albeit much more time- and effort-consuming.
Video streaming is another feature that some users to do, especially since the small-sized display screen may be too compact to offer any visually-recognizable difference between objects. The FLIR C2 can stream be connected to your laptop or computer to stream IR images using the FLIR Tools app.
Video streaming can also be done using the C3 and the same FLIR Tools app.
Seek Thermal Reveal
This thermal camera can only take photos. It can’t record videos or stream them to your computer or laptop. This is especially problematic since it comes with a minuscule 2.4-inch display.
Conclusion: Streaming videos from the camera to your laptop or computer lets users see an enlarged image, real-time image of what the camera picks up. There cameras’ built-in screens may be too small for users to see minute changes in temperature, and streaming videos solves this problem. The only camera here that can’t stream videos is the Reveal.
FLIR C2 vs FLIR C3 vs Seek Thermal: Bottom Line
Once again, it’s important first to determine where you’re going to use the thermal imaging camera since different settings emit different heat and cold temperatures. For use in residential and commercial buildings, both of the FLIRs are great choices without having excess temperature detection capacities that will mostly go unused.
If you’re working in power plants or manufacturing facilities, you’ll need a camera that is able to detect tremendous amounts of heat (at least 500°F), meaning that the Seek Thermal Reveal is the most suitable camera of the three here.
Between the FLIR C2 and FLIR C3, the only difference is the Wifi connectivity that comes in the latter. If you absolutely need to transfer images directly from the thermal camera to other mobile devices, then the C3’s Wifi connectivity could save you time. If you’re working in your own home, Wifi connectivity may not be needed as much.