Whether you are a chef, you are a mechanic, or you need to determine the temperature for something quickly for anything, an infrared thermometer is an excellent tool to have on hand. These tools allow you to take the temperature of an object or a space without having to actually do physical measurements. These thermometers are often used to determine the temperature of food to ensure that it is safely cooked, or to take the temperature of a vehicle to determine where an issue may be occurring; and those are just two of the uses for this practical tool. If you are on the market for an infrared thermometer, you are in luck, because you will have a lot of options to choose from. However, with so many choices, it can be difficult to determine which infrared thermometer will best suit your needs. In order to help you on your quest for finding the best infrared thermometer, we have put together this handy buyer’s guide. In this guide, you will learn about the different types of infrared thermometers, the factors to consider when choosing one of these tools, the different features they can offer and the best infrared thermometer brands. With the information presented in this buyer’s guide, you will be well prepared to choose the best infrared thermometer for your specific needs.
Types of Infrared Thermometers
An infrared thermometer is a special type of thermometer that infers temperature from the amount of thermal, or blackbody, radiation that an object emits. Often referred to as laser thermometers, a infrared thermometer can measure temperature from a distance instead of having to be in close proximity to an object, or instead of having to actually make contact with an object.
An infrared thermometer can be used in various applications, such as checking mechanical equipment or electrical equipment for hot spots, for measuring volcanic temperatures, and even for checking patient temperatures without having to make physical contact with them.
In order to find the best infrared thermometer for your needs, the first thing you need to do is understand the different types that are available. There are three main types of infrared thermometers, which include:
- The spot infrared thermometer
- The infrared camera
- The infrared line scanning system
This section of this buyer’s guide describes each of these types of thermometers in detail so that you can determine which one will best suit your needs.
The Spot Infrared Thermometer
Also known as an infrared pyrometer, this type of thermometer measures the temperature at one spot on a surface, which is a relatively small area. Generally, this type of thermometer points a red dot onto to the area where the heat is being measured from. The spot infrared thermometer is often used as a household tool to measure things like the temperature of an oven or a refrigerator. This type of infrared thermometer is the most cost effective; however, if may not provide the accurate results that you are looking for.
The Infrared Camera
Infrared thermal imaging cameras measure the temperature of several points on a large object or area, which creates a two dimensional thermogram. Each pixel in the thermogram represents a temperature on the object being measured. The infrared thermal imaging camera is used to scan larger areas. They are often used by the military or by security to monitor a perimeter of an area and detect any activity. They require software to read the temperature of the item being measured, and provide highly accurate results; however, they usually have a high price tag.
The Infrared Line Scanning System
Essentially, the infrared line scanning system is a spot infrared thermometer that is pointed at a rotating mirror. This type of infrared thermometer is often used by conveyors, such as those who produce glass or metal sheets by sending them through an oven, or those who produce fabric or paper. They provide accurate results, but they are the largest of the three different types of infrared thermometers.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Infrared Thermometer
There are a number of factors that you are going to want to take into consideration when choosing an infrared thermometer. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to choose the best thermometer for your specific needs. Some of the most important factors to take into consideration include the target temperature, the material of the target, and the cost of the infrared thermometer, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important when choosing an infrared thermometer, please keep on reading.
The target temperature
What temperature range are you going to want to measure? Some infrared thermometers are only suitable for taking low temperatures, others are suitable for taking mid range temperatures, and still others are designed to take very high temperatures. Make sure you know what the maximum temperature of the target object so that you can choose an infrared thermometer that will be able to properly measure the temperature.
The target material
You are also going to want to consider the material of the target that you are going to be taking the temperature of. Products that are constructed of plastic, wood, glass, metal or pain usually work well with infrared thermometers because of their high emissivity values. Emissivity is a measure of the ability of a material to emit energy as thermal radiation, and it is measured on a scale from 0 to 1. Many infrared thermometers are set as a default to an emissivity of .95, and some are fixed at this particular value; however, there are others that will allow you to adjust this value.
The size of the target
The size of the target is also an important factor to consider when choosing an infrared thermometer. The diameter of the object is important because it will impact the way the infrared thermometer measures the temperature, and its accuracy.
The distance of the object
The distance of the object that you will be taking the temperature of is also an important factor to take into consideration when choosing an infrared thermometer. The further away the object will be, the further the reach the infrared thermometer is going to have to have. Often, you will see a distance spot ration listed on these thermometers. This is a ratio of the distance to the object, and the diameter of the area that is being measured. For instance, a thermometer that has a spot ration of 10 : 1 can measure an object that is 1 mile away, and will average the temperature over a an area that is 10 cm in diameter. Infrared thermometers that offer a larger spot ratio, such as 30 : 1 or 50 : 1 can measure smaller areas from further away.
The accuracy of the temperature measurement
You are also going to want to consider how accurate the temperature the thermometer will take will be. This is particularly important, because you want to ensure that you get the most accurate reading possible when determining hot spots in electrical wiring, or when determining if there is human activity around the perimeter of an area. If the thermometer does not provide accurate readings, you may not get the proper information that you are looking for.
The ease of use
The easier the infrared thermometer is to use, the better. The best infrared thermometers are easy to set up, easy to operate and easy to read.
The cost of the infrared thermometer
Price is another important factor to consider when choosing an infrared thermometer that will best meet your needs. These tools can vary significantly in price, and you want to make sure that you don’t spend more than you are comfortable with. Thermometers that can take temperatures from a farther distance and over a smaller area, and those that offer more features, usually have a higher price tag. Also, infrared cameras tend to be the most expensive of each of the three types of infrared thermometers.
Features Infrared Thermometers Can Offer
There are a number of features that infrared thermometers can offer. These features are intended to make the thermometer easier to use, and improve the function and versatility. As mentioned above, the more features that an infrared thermometer offers, the more expensive it will be. In order to determine whether you want or need certain features, and to determine if the added cost is worth your while, you are going to need to have a firm understanding of the different features that are available.
Here is a look at some of the top features that infrared thermometers can offer.
Varying temperature scales
Some infrared thermometers offer varying temperature scales, which will allow you to switch from Celsius temperature readings to Fahrenheit temperature readings. This can be a particularly useful feature if you are going to be working in different applications that require readings from these two temperature scales.
Auto off function
With an auto off function, the infrared thermometer will automatically turn off after a certain period of time. This feature is handy, as it will help to preserve the battery life of the thermometer.
Some infrared thermometers also offer illuminated backlights, or backlights that can be turned on or off. This is another handy feature, as it will allow you to read the temperature of the thermometer in dark settings. To preserve battery life, a backlight that can be turned on or off is an excellent option.
In order to make it easier to take the temperature reading of an object, some infrared thermometers offer audio alarms. When the thermometer reaches the highest temperature reading, an alarm will sound, which will notify you when the highest temperature has been read.
Some infrared thermometers feature a memory reading, which will allow you to keep a certain amount of previously taken temperatures on file so that you can easily access them. This is a particularly handy feature if you are going to be comparing the temperature readings of objects; for example, if you are taking a patient’s temperature several times over the course of a few hours, you can access the previously recorded temperatures to see how the most recent temperatures compare.
To maximize your comfort and improve your grasp, some infrared thermometers offer an ergonomically designed grip on the handle. With this feature, you will be able to hold your hand steadier so that you can take more accurate readings.
The best infrared thermometers come backed by a warranty, which will protect your investment. Should anything happen to the infrared thermometer during the span of the warranty, you could have it repaired or replaced, or you could have your money reimbursed. Do make sure you read the details of the warranty so that you know exactly what it covers.
The Best Infrared Thermometer Brands
There are a number of manufacturers that produce infrared thermometers. While this is great because it gives you a lot of options, it can also make it difficult to determine which brand you should choose. To help you find the best infrared thermometer for your needs, we have tested out several brands, and have compared user reviews. Our findings have indicated that the following brands of infrared thermometers are the best of the best.
This company utilizes the most cutting edge technologies and exceptional design to create reliable infrared thermometers that are built to last. FOSHAN MINGZE manufactures various types of infrared thermometers that offer a range of features.
Another top producer of infrared thermometers is Champion IR. This company manufactures high quality thermometers that offer a variety of features, so you will be sure to find one that will meet your specific needs.
Another producer of high quality infrared thermometers is Nubee. This company also used the most cutting edge technologies and durable materials to make exceptional infrared thermometers that deliver accurate results, and they are also very easy to use.