5 Best Thermal Camera for PCB Inspection Review 2021

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PCB (Printed Circuit Board) assembly inspection has become a regular part of the electronics manufacturing process, particularly for highly complex circuit boards. Right after the manufacturing process, it can detect any possible premature failure. AOI PCB inspection, Manual PCB inspection are all examples of PCB inspection methods. On the other hand, the thermal imaging camera provides another way for inspecting PCBs that is both reliable and simple.

Thermal inspection has become a valuable diagnostic method for a range of industrial applications due to its various advantages for customers and manufacturers of electrical, mechanical, and machinery equipment. Moreover, perfect temperature indicators from the appropriate devices will detect and expose faulty connections or components until they fail, resulting in fire, massive damage, or dangerous explosions. Have a look at the best thermal camera for PCB inspection.

How We Reviewed

To make a successful and worthy review is a lot of work. In the beginning, we made an extensive list of 40 products which we selected by their unique features and ratings of the customers. Then, for extensive research, we went through 80 articles written on the topic from known sources. Next, we went through the real user’s opinions which numbers almost 300+ from most known marketplaces. Therefore, we have shortlisted these 5 products and compiled this review on the best thermal camera for PCB inspection.

Best Thermal Camera for PCB Inspection – 30 Sec Quick Summary

Editors’ Choice: FLIR ETS320-Thermal Imaging Camera

“Especially people can use this camera with phones and android, and IOS phone also included in this one.”

Professional’s Choice: FLIR ONE Pro-Android

“Engineer works in the field, and they do need a thermal camera that is handy, easy to use, and has a great battery life, and this camera has everything.”

The Handy: FLIR Pocket Thermal Camera

“This camera is small, lite easy to take anywhere.”

Expert’s choice: FLIR TG165-Spot Thermal Camera

“The expert suggests this camera because of its design, features, and accessibility make the camera expert’s favorite.”

The Allrounder: FOTRIC 225 Pro Thermal Camera

“It is a camera, which is feasible to use, unique features, and everyone loves to have it in their home, and the brand says the rest.”

Table of Content:

We tried to gather as much knowledge as possible on what works best for thermal camera measurements. So, from the table of contents below, pick your desired section and jump right in.

Comparison Chart:

We are going to discuss five different thermal cameras here. We will discuss the power sources of the camera, how it will work, who will use it, what features they have, and many other things.

Image Product Technical Spec Price
Editors Choice

FLIR ETS320 - Thermal Imaging Camera Solution

FLIR ETS320 – Thermal Imaging Camera Solution
  • IR Resolution:320 x 240 (76,800 pixels)
  • Thermal Sensitivity: /NETD < 0.06°C
  • Field of View:45° x 34°
  • Fixed Focus Distance:70mm ± 10mm
  • Spot Size @ Min. Focus:170μm
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Professionals Choice

FLIR One Pro – Android (USB-C)

FLIR One Pro – Android (USB-C)
  • Brand:FLIR
  • Alert Type:Motion Only
  • Wireless Communication Technology: Ethernet
  • Power Source: Battery powered
  • Video Capture Resolution: 1440×1880
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The Handy

FLIR Pocket Thermal Camera

FLIR Pocket Thermal Camera
  • Manufacturer: FLIR Systems, Inc.
  • Item Weight: 4.6 ounces
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 3.1 x 1 inches
  • Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer batteries required. (included)
  • Color: C2
  • Style :Thermal Camera Only
  • Material: Borosilicate Glass
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Experts Choice

FLIR TG165 - Spot Thermal Camera

FLIR TG165 – Spot Thermal Camera
  • Brand: FLIR
  • Alert Type: Motion Only
  • Power Source: Battery
  • Color: Port
  • Material: Standard
  • Pattern: Camera
  • Power Source: Battery
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The Allrounder

FOTRIC 225 Pro Thermal Camera

FOTRIC 225 Pro Thermal Camera
  • Manufacturer: FOTRIC
  • Item Weight: 4 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 7 x 9 inches
  • Item model number: Fotric 225
  • Style Std: 24° lens
  • Material: Other
  • Thickness:9 Inches
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5 Best Thermal Camera for PCB Inspection Reviews 2021

5 Best Thermal Camera for PCB Inspection

Despite this fact, the association between body temperature and disease has been established for centuries. Moreover, you can use Skin temperature as an easy and efficient diagnostic method for disease detection.

1. Editors Choice: FLIR ETS320 – Thermal Imaging CameraFLIR ETS320 - Thermal Imaging Camera

An excellent thermal imaging camera can be one’s best friend for achieving accuracy in various technical works out there. Be it for monitoring, controlling, and automating different industrial processes or maintaining electronic devices in the laboratory, a thermal imaging camera can do it all. Hence, investing in a worthy thermal imaging solution system is a wise decision no one would regret.

The new FLIR ETS320 is one of the best thermal imaging solutions in the market lately. In reality, it is the first FLIR camera that the designer has designed specifically for fast temperature checks on various electronic devices in the lab and on PCBs. However, it is not only a cost-effective range of tools for minimizing the time it takes to test and evaluate products, but it also enhances the product designs of several electronic boards.

The manufacturer has designed this FLIR ETS320 to help technicians and engineers gather reliable, precise data in the shortest amount of time possible in seconds. Thus, it comes very handy to analyze the data as fast as possible. The ETS320 is hands-free as well as battery-powered and comes with six different tools together.

For Whom is This Product Designed?

The FLIR ETS320 is a laboratory technician and an engineer’s dream come true. Suppose you are looking for an affordable yet comprehensive thermal imaging system that would provide the most accurate results possible in the least possible time. In that case, the FLIR ETS320 is the device you are looking for!

Why Do We Love It?
  • This camera has straightforward connectivity via USB to a PC allowing the share of thermal data in no time.
  • The camera is a responsive and precise 320 x 240 Infrared detector of 76,800 pixels.
  • It contains a vibrant 3” LCD.
  • This excellent thermal camera records standard radiometric JPEG.
What Should Be Improved?
  • Due to the apparent short focal length and shortage of focus alteration, the imaging area on a board is minimal (40 x 55 mm).
  • The plastic outer layer and display panel can make it unsuitable for professional laboratory use.

2. Professionals Choice: FLIR ONE Pro – Android (USB-C)FLIR ONE Pro – Android (USB-C)

The FLIR ONE Pro causes you to find undetectable issues quicker than any time in recent memory, regardless of whether you are examining electrical boards, investigating mechanical frameworks, searching for HVAC issues, or discovering water harm. The FLIR ONE Pro-Series camera has a 4x larger objective than the FLIR ONE Pro LT, resulting in more refined image clarity. As a result, the progressive FLIR VividIRTM picture preparation has enhanced the picture quality.

Temperatures up to 400°C (752°F) are more than three times higher than any FLIR ONE model. Moreover, this distinguishes temperature contrasts down to 70 mK. Loaded with fantastic estimation devices, the FLIR ONE Pro will fill in as hard as you do. FLIR ONE Pro also allows you to see more detail thanks to its 19,200-pixel goal—a 4x increase over the FLIR ONE Pro LT—and VividIRTM image preparation.

The engineer made this FLIR One Pro is to endure the violence that chipping away at a job site will dish out each day. Also, it can withstand a drop of 1.8 meters, and it will last long. Moreover, it has a Powerful Infrared camera portable accessory with a customizable one-fit connector that allows you to discover covered-up electrical issues, energy misfortune, water harm, and other warmth-related matters.

For Whom is This Product Designed?

Since it fits or connects to almost any phone, anyone can use this thermal camera. Both an Android and an iOS version are still available. Additionally, for iOS, there is a lightning edition, and for Android, there is a USBC version. However, the iOS edition is superior to the Android version.

Why Do We Love It?
  • This thermal camera comes with a single adjustable connector that stretches up to 4 millimeters.
  • The MSX and VividIR provide you with the sharpest mobile thermal performance.
  • The camera has a single-fit connector that aids in the detection of hidden electrical issues.
What Should Be Improved?
  • The light does not always work correctly.

3. The Handy: FLIR Pocket Thermal CameraFLIR Pocket Thermal Camera

Fotric C series thermal camera consists of 6 different models. And Flir C2 leads the series. This thermal device is the world’s first fully-featured pocket-sized thermal camera, according to the manufacturer. Moreover, C2 is a small unit, measuring almost 5 inches long and 3 inches wide. From temperature -10oC to 150oC (14 to 302°F), the device can detect thermal activity.

Moreover, it has a robust and rugged body construction to enhance its hardness at the site. Besides, a responsive 3-inch touchscreen display makes work more efficient and faster. Its MXSTM technology increases thermal image quality with key visual details. Moreover, the feature this thermal camera has, like portability, double-shot keycap, etc., make this the best thermal imaging camera for PCB.

Also, it comes with two camera sensors to switch between the visible and thermal modes. And the LED light supports as a flashlight. Other Features are – built-in internal memory to store the files, a lithium battery that powers the device up to two hours, and a Micro-USB port that fulfills the efficient charging and data transfer.

For Whom the Product is Designed?

The FLIR C2 is a thermal imaging camera. C2 is for those persons who are contractors, civil engineers, building construction experts, etc. For its pocket-sized and rugged body design, heavily constructed site workers can easily use it. Besides, anywhere that could be for house inspection, building inspections, restoration, etc., Flir C2 is good to go. Also, to detect any thermal activities or problems inside electronic devices that are barely visible, this camera will do the work.

Why Do We Love It?
  • Anyone can take it anywhere because of its small size.
  • Image quality is better due to its patented MXS technology.
  • Rugged body construction prevents extensive damage.
  • The camera also has an excellent responsive touchscreen display.
What Should Improve
  • Should have integrated Wi-Fi module like C3 in the series.

4. Experts Choice: FLIR TG165 – Spot Thermal CameraFLIR TG165 - Spot Thermal Camera

Moving on to another thermal camera straight from Flir. It is Flir TG165. This camera can operate temperature from -25 to 380°C (-13 to 716°F). Although it has a 2-inch display, unlike Flir C2, it is not a touchscreen display. The thermal monitor has an 80 x 60-pixel resolution. A lithium-ion rechargeable battery also powers it.

However, this unit has no company patented MSX technology for image enhancement like C2. But It instantly detects thermal activity and guides where to aim exactly using its Lepton IR Imaging Engine. Another feature, the 24:1 spot size ratio, helps to operate for safer distance measurement. And It also offers a nice user-friendly navigation button to use.

Additionally, TG165 has a Class II laser focus of which minimum distance is limited to 4 inches. However, the measurement distance is up to 10 inches. It also has a different design with a handle below the output screen to grab a hand like a stick. Lastly, the device brings ¼ inches tripod-mounting feature and an external SD card slot up to 8 gigabytes to prevent the storage problem.

For Whom the Product is Designed

Like Flir C2, this unit is also a handy device for building or house construction experts and engineers. Also, it is used while figuring out any electrical issues or hotspots at home, job site, and others. Jammed registers, damaged junctions can be quickly insight of this spot thermal camera. It can also be used for tire checks and mechanical problems in a car factory. So, this is very useful for electricians, constructors, and automobile engineers for a better purpose.

Why Do We Love It?
  • TG165 can detect thermal activity up to 380°C.
  • The device includes an external memory card option which comes with the box.
  • It also has a Class II auto laser focus.
What Should Improve
  • TG165 lacks a better display quality

5. The Allrounder: FOTRIC 225 Pro Thermal CameraFOTRIC 225 Pro Thermal Camera

Fotric 225 Pro thermal Camera is an entry-level cost-efficient camera with professional features with a most practical design using infrared thermal technology and standard lens size with a minimum detection capability of 0.15m. This camera has an adjustable focus lens that allows the user to take more precise and more centered images as required.

The Fotric 225 thermal camera has multiple modes that allow the user more versatility, and the user interface is superior to its more expensive equivalent. Furthermore, it comes with Smartphone Mode, Tablet Mode, Constantly Online Mode & Professionals Abundant Analysis Tools. As a result, this device is the most reliable for its users.

This camera is well efficient with a vast number of features. It includes a wide temperature range of -4°F~1,202°F helps to detect the thermal picture of any specific area with accuracy and analyze the thermal performance with the inbuilt software Fotric AnalyzIR. Moreover, smartphone engagement and longer battery life give this device an edge over its competitors.

For Whom Is This Product Designed?

Thermal cameras have various usages. From its inception, thermal cameras were used as a detecting tool for military activities; all different levels of professionals use thermal cameras to detect other things. Because of its portability, anyone can use this device as a handheld inspection tool, a radiometric video recording device, and so on. According to user-friendliness, everyone can adjust this system, primarily professionals who require a feature-rich product at a low cost.

Why Do We Love It?
  • The manufacturer filled this device with a feature for the user.
  • Monitor temperature for a long time.
  • Diversified application manual.
  • Inbuilt Analyzing tools are installed.
  • It the Easy to Use with immense flexibility.
  • Fair value for money device.
What Should Improve?
  • Additional Software improvement should imply.
  • MSX should be included as per the price range, though the image resolution is good.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Thermal Imaging Camera?

Before buying a thermal camera, you should look for the ten most important things. The things you must have to look for in a thermal camera are:

1. Resolution

The number of detector pixels on the sensor is the detector resolution. More pixel’s equal higher resolution. Furthermore, a lower spatial resolution value demonstrates better image quality and detail.

2. Focus of the camera

One of the most critical aspects is the focus. There are some common focuses in the thermal camera like manual focus, autofocus, laser-assisted autofocus, etc.

3. Temperature range

The temperature ranges your thermal imager requires on the maximum and minimum temperatures you will experience during your inspection.

4. Lens Option

A camera with interchangeable lenses allows you more flexibility, allowing you to check a wider variety of equipment and circumstances.

5. Saving Images /Additional data

Internal memory, a disposable SD card, or a USB flash drive may be used to save infrared and digital files, as well as voice notes in some cases. It’s essential to keep photos and other relevant data to various media for backup or sharing.

6. Palettes of colors

A monochromatic palette, such as grayscale or amber, helps to highlight subtle differences. High contrast palettes will make it easier to spot apparent flaws quickly. In the camera or the app, you should be able to adjust the palette.

7. Color Alarms

These can be used to quickly identify locations that are outside of normal temperature ranges.

8. Battery Life and Type

Look for a battery that has convenient features, including a charge level indicator. Nothing is more stressful than beginning an inspection without understanding how the batteries are doing. Take into account how long the battery will last and how fast it will charge.

9. Markers for Spots

Label specific temperatures on your image to compare simultaneous temperatures from different points on the same idea.

10. Reflected Emissivity and temperatures

Surfaces with low emissivities, such as shiny metals, will reflect infrared energy from other materials, causing your image and measurement precision to be thrown off. When selecting an image, look for the option to change parameters.

Thermal Camera Guide to Avoid Common Home Inspection Mistakes

Thermal Camera Guide

People make mistakes while using a thermal camera. Some of them are very common. With some simple care, you can avoid those mistakes. The standard errors during inspection people make are:

1. The most popular blunder is misinterpreting photos.

When examining a home with a FLIR camera, you can find cold spots, hot spots, and patterns that do not make sense and are easy to misinterpret. It takes practice to interpret thermal images correctly and identify damp areas, air leaks, possible mold issues, water leaks, termites and other insect infestations, missing insulation, and other issues.

2. Errors in Temperature Measurement

When it comes to taking an accurate temperature reading, it’s easy to make mistakes. While FLIR products designed for home inspections typically have a +/- 2% accuracy range, certain materials (such as shiny metal) will drastically alter the temperature your camera displays.

3. Be mindful of your tool’s limits

It would be fantastic if the FLIR ONE Pro could meet all of your thermography requirements. Although entry-level cameras such as the FLIR ONE and FLIR C3 are excellent tools, they have limitations. Moreover, you are restricted by the hardware and what you know how to do with it, as with most devices.

These are some common mistakes people make, and avoid these mistakes, and there is a thermal camera guide that will help you in this situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have gone through some questions answer to get some more information about the thermal camera. From the question-answer, we will highlight some important things with you.

Can thermal cameras see-through metal?

Thermal imaging cameras cannot see through metal. The LW thermal camera cannot see through even transparent glass.

How far can thermal cameras see?

Temperature variations of most cameras can detect 1°C or better. Moreover, thermal cameras can see as far as the eye can see in most cases. The object’s size and contrast decide whether you can “see something” at a given distance.

How does thermal imaging work?

the thermal cameras detect the temperature of the object, capturing the image using infrared lights.

Is thermal imaging safe?

If the technology is used for the right reason and in the right circumstances, then using thermal cameras is totally safe.

Why is thermal imaging so expensive?

As the most advanced and unique technology is used to record thermal imaging, it is expensive than regular cameras.

Final Word

Our journey to the best thermal camera for PCB inspection ends here. In short, we will suggest you have the FOTRIC 225 Pro Thermal Camera because this one qualifies as the Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Body Temperature.  When you attach the camera to tablet PCs, the system can perform sophisticated temperature analysis and basic maintenance tasks, both significant other components of the mentioned thermographic device Windows software and PC hardware.

Furthermore, except for the hardware of the USB IR camera measuring heads, the company can upgrade this camera at any time. On one side, fast software updates and extension downloads complete the measuring process. On the other hand, the measurement unit can be upgraded at any time with technologically and technically advanced PC hardware through the standard USB interface.

Richard Bevill

Author - Richard Bevill

Hi, I am Richard Bevill, I am a businessman and tech-blogger. I have a shop where I sell different types of thermal image cameras and their related accessories. Because of my business, I have to face so many clients of thermal image camera users. During my business hours, I find that many of my clients face difficulties with uses, maintenance, not getting the exact amount of service, buying the wrong one. All those problems they face because of their lack of knowledge about thermal image cameras. 

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