The Best Thermal Imaging Cameras: See Beyond The Visible

Unleash the power of thermal vision with our handpicked selection of thermal imaging devices.
Tried & Tested: See Our Testing ↓
Written & Tested By: Richard Morgan | Updated:
best thermal imaging camera
Richard Morgan/DIY Works
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From plumbing to electrical inspections, thermal imaging cameras are incredibly useful tools and the latest devices are much easier to use. Whether you require a standalone camera such as the TOPDON device we tested in the image above or one that can be used with your smartphone, there are plenty of models to choose from at your disposal.

To assist you in selecting the right thermal imaging camera, our handpicked selection lists top-performing models, chosen based on our first-hand experience using multiple for various electrical, heating and plumbing inspections. Our testing and up-to-date research further ensure the quality of our recommendations.

FLIR ONE EDGE PRO
Best Smartphone: FLIR ONE EDGE PRO
TOPDON TC004 Thermal Imaging Camera
Best Value: TOPDON TC004 Thermal Imaging Camera
Bosch Professional 12V System Thermal Camera
Best Professional: Bosch GTC 400 C Thermal Camera
TOPDON TC001 Thermal Imaging Camera for Android
Best Smartphone Runner Up: TOPDON Thermal Imaging Camera for Android
PerfectPrime IR0280H Thermal Imager
Best Budget: PerfectPrime IR0280 Thermal Imager

How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates Thermal Imaging Cameras

As we own a number of properties (Airbnb’s and rental properties), we are often asked to diagnose issues that involve the use of a thermal imaging camera. These issues can include diagnosing electrical faults to locating a leak, the list is endless and they are very versatile tools which we’ve had the pleasure of using multiple times over the years.

During our ongoing testing, we analyse the camera’s accuracy, usability, customisation (i.e. adjustable emissivity based on the material), additional functions as well as the applications provided to view data afterwards for further analysis.

Below are some photos we took during the testing of various thermal imaging cameras. As you can see, the camera clearly displays multiple measurements (actual, min and max) along with clear colour visuals of hot and cold spots.

In the photos, the first image shows us diagnosing a radiator that wasn’t heating at the bottom whilst the second photo highlights a draft through a window.

best thermal camera

Richard Morgan/DIY Works
thermal imaging camera

Richard Morgan/DIY Works

As well as testing standalone handheld devices, we’ve also been putting the latest FLIR ONE EDGE PRO to test as shown below. The screenshot was taken straight from my smartphone and the camera itself is completely wireless.

best thermal imaging camera uk

Richard Morgan/DIY Works
best thermal imaging camera for home inspection

Richard Morgan/DIY Works

To give you an idea of how to use a thermal imaging camera and how the data is displayed in real-time, below is a video that we posted on our YouTube channel that shows us testing and using the TOPDON TC004.

To keep up our commitment to reviewing and testing the latest thermal imaging cameras (for this article), we are continually testing out the latest offerings from top brands in the UK. This means that when we notice a brand has released a new model, we will attempt to upgrade our current thermal cameras for testing.

As well as testing and our experience using multiple thermal imaging cameras, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the camera’s build quality, imaging accuracy and quality, usability, detection speed, ability to save images and videos, additional functionality, supplied accessories, warranty and value for money.

The Best Thermal Imaging Cameras

At DIY Works, our content is 100% independent and we would never recommend a product that we wouldn't use ourselves (read our editorial standards and how we test products).

1. Best Smartphone: FLIR ONE EDGE PRO

(How We Review →)

By far one of the most popular thermal imaging cameras available in the UK is the FLIR ONE EDGE PRO. This particular model is the brand’s new and improved thermal camera that comes with new intuitive features when compared to its predecessors. It can now also be used with iOS and Android smartphones or tablets too.

In terms of using this thermal camera, you simply download the brand’s dedicated application and follow the onscreen instructions. It’s really simple to use and even the average DIY’er will be able to use it for home inspections.

Pros
  • New and improved model with additional features
  • Compatible with both iOS and Android devices
  • Fast detection of targets with a high degree of accuracy
  • Easy to use and setup as it wirelessly connects to your smart device
  • During testing, we really liked the fact that it came with an extendable USB port (we didn't need to remove our phone's case)
  • Easily save images and videos to your phone
  • Measures up to 400 degrees
Cons
  • Relatively expensive when compared to other thermal cameras that can be used with smartphones and tablets

For using a thermal imaging camera with your smartphone or tablet, the FLIR ONE EDGE PRO is by far the best option to use. Its popularity speaks for itself and it’s a worthwhile investment that you certainly won’t regret.

2. Best Value: TOPDON TC004 Thermal Imaging Camera

(How We Review →)

TOPDON is an upcoming brand in the UK that has a great reputation for its affordable yet high-quality tools. The TC004 is a great example of that reputation because it’s a professional-grade thermal imaging camera at an affordable price.

Compared to the FLIR EDGE ONE PRO and other devices that the brand offers, the TC004 is a standalone handheld device. This means that it doesn’t rely on other devices and it can be used straight out of the box. It also gives you the option to view images and videos offline by transferring data from an SD card to the brand’s software on your computer.

Pros
  • During testing, we found it very easy to use and it has a range of uses
  • As well as the thermal camera, there is also an SD card, carry case, charger and other accessories in the box
  • You can easily save images by pressing the trigger
  • The display is very clear and it can provide centre, hot and cold spot measurements clearly
  • Integrated torch that we found useful when crawling through our roof space
  • It's built to a very high standard and the brand state that it can withstand up to 2 metre drops
  • Excellent measurement accuracy (with adjustable emissivity) and high-quality imaging
  • Perfect for professionals and beginner DIY'ers
Cons
  • Stored images can only be viewed by putting the supplied SD card into your computer
  • Only measure up to 350 degrees (unlike 400 degrees like many of the alternatives)

To conclude, the TOPDON TC004 really does tick all the boxes in terms of combing performance with value for the money. It’s also packed full of features that make it a great thermal camera for home inspections. Apart from the fact that it can’t be used with your smartphone, there really isn’t much to dislike about this particular model.

3. Best Professional: Bosch GTC 400 C Thermal Camera

(How We Review →)

If you are a professional plumber, electrician or work within any other type of trade, Bosch’s GTC 400 C thermal camera may be of interest. As it’s a professional thermal imaging camera, it does come with a premium price tag but it’s a specialist device that can be used for so many applications.

Standout features that make the price tag seem reasonable include its large colour display (160 x 120-pixel infrared sensor resolution), integration with the brand’s “Measuring Master App”, superior accuracy and so much more.

Pros
  • Robust construction that can withstand drops and splashes of water (IP 53 rated)
  • Dual power source (Li-Battery Pack or AA batteries)
  • Stores photos internally but you can transfer them to your phone via the brand's dedicated application
  • Generates professional reports that can also be sent to your phone via the app
  • Supplied with multiple accessories
  • Fast and accurate detection of hotspots
  • Measures up to 400 degrees
Cons
  • Most expensive thermal imaging camera within our roundup

To conclude, if you are willing to invest in a professional-grade thermal imaging camera, look no further than the Bosch GTC 400 C. Although expensive, it’s built to last and is the perfect device for taking detailed measurements.

4. Best Smartphone Runner Up: TOPDON Thermal Imaging Camera for Android

(How We Review →)

Another thermal camera by the TOPDON brand is the TC001 model, which again is a high-quality yet affordable option to consider. Unlike the TC004 model recommended above, this model is a thermal imaging camera for Android devices.

In terms of performance, this model has 40MK thermal sensitivity and a high resolution of 256×192 pixels. This means that it’s able to provide accurate and high-quality imaging that’s displayed through your smartphone or tablet.

Pros
  • Compatible with Android devices and Windows computers
  • Wide temperature range from -20 to 550 degrees
  • Provides plenty of customisation with the choice of 9 colour palettes and 3 temperature dimensions
  • Lower power consumption when compared the previous models
  • Easy to setup and use on any Android devices (plug and play design)
  • Offers great value for the money when compared to similar performing thermal cameras
Cons
  • Only compatible with Android devices (doesn't work with any iOS devices)

Apart from the fact that the TC001 doesn’t work with iOS devices, it’s an excellent all-round option that certainly won’t disappoint. It’s relatively affordable, provides a high degree of accuracy, easy to use and the construction is built to a high standard. If you can’t afford the FLIR alternative, this thermal imaging camera is the next best option.

5. Best Budget: PerfectPrime IR0280 Thermal Imager

(How We Review →)

For those that are on a tight budget but still require a high-quality thermal camera, the PerfectPrime IR0280 is a great option to consider. At a fraction of the price of some of the alternatives, this model provides a high degree of accuracy for professional or home use and it can be used to find cold or hot water leaks, insulation problems and so much more.

Pros
  • Easy to use straight out of the box
  • Temperature range rated up to 1,000 degrees
  • Supplied with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • During testing, we were really impressed by the fact that you can live stream the data to a computer
  • Easily record video footage by pulling the trigger
Cons
  • During testing, we felt that it wasn't built to a high standard like the alternatives
  • Only provides a thermal resolution of 32 x 32 px (resolution is slightly grainy)

Considering that the PerfectPrime IR0280 can do most of what the premium alternatives can do, it’s a great option to consider. Apart from the thermal quality being slightly grainy, it’s a good thermal camera for the money that certainly won’t disappoint considering its budget price tag.

Conclusion

Although thermal imaging cameras are relatively expensive (even for budget models), they are certainly a worthwhile investment. The ability to instantly retrieve accurate and high-quality thermal imaging makes the diagnosis of plumbing and electrical faults far easier. They are a great tool for both professionals and your average DIY’er to use for home inspections and the latest selection of devices on the market are far easier to use than they once were.

If you require further information regarding our thermal imaging camera recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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