Extech I5

OK, this question has probably been asked before but would anyone recommend the Extech I5 for someone just learning thermography? If not, what would you recommend? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am just trying to take classes and learn. I am not far enough into it to “use” it in my inspection business. Thanks ahead of time for everyone’s help

Hi Jonathan,

You are correct, asked and answered.

My advice is to simply purchase the best camera you can afford now, regardless if you feel that it’s too much camera for your purposes. The i5 is not it. Also get properly trained ITC

Stay with a resolution that is at least 120x120. Anything less will not work like you
need it to for home inspection purposes. Contact me for the lowest price FLUKE
in the United States (I do not sell IR cameras but can help you get the lowest price).

I first tried the Extech I5 and sent it back. I took the deal that John spoke of and it was a SUPER deal. I have researched for months. The FLUKE is a great camera also don’t forget his training. Best way to get started in Thermal Imaging. FLUKE has online web cast “FREE” it will show what there cameras can do. "you don’t need a camera to attented.:slight_smile:

Here are some i5 images so you know what they look like.





I would consider this camera for use by an HVAC contractor or building contractor to check up on their work. I did have a public power district buy 3 last fall though for the guys to use to check out connections while in a bucket truck after they fix something. So it isn’t that they won’t work just not the greatest for it.

I would by one of these before I spent any money on a FLUKE Camera of any kind though. At least this camera has the ability to input the background temperature and change the emissivity. No offense John but I wouldn’t buy a TiR for any price but that is just me. I say that not as a sales person but as a professional thermographer.

I can help you with purchasing an i5 or I have a i40 that I’ve used as a demo model for 6 months. It still has 6 months+ on the warranty (but I don’t think you will need to ever use the warranty even if it was for a full year). I can sell it to you for $4425. Here are some images from it.






Plus you can take the itc online course to learn how to use the camera for free.

OJ Utter
Level 3 itc Thermographer

I think a person needs more than a free online course to use the camera.
I am sure you agree. FLUKE offers the same kind of free courses as well,
and even more types of free training at their web site.

Regarding the FLUKE vs the FLIR, I think they are both fine cameras.

The FLUKE TiR has

  • more resolution than the FLIR i40
  • 2 yr warranty instead of the FLIR one year warranty
  • better fussion technology to blend pictures
  • larger screen to see details
  • several hundred dollars less (new) than even the used price you offer

(and… most home inspectors have no need to adjust the emissivity
as it does not change the image view, but only a slight change in
the spot temp read out , per FLIR)

Best of luck in all you do.

I tend to agree. The Extech is a great “training” camera, but of little use for paid work.

Fluke has a small advantage over FlIR (as regards to price / performance), but seeing how this market is so competative, that could change.

As always, do your own due dilligence.

And (like me) if you are on the “bleeding edge”, don’t take it too hard if you buy a camera, and then find out, 4 months later, that there is a better performing camera that can be had for 1 to 2 thousand less expensive.

I, regularly, go to a local store (I know a guy :mrgreen:) and test each model.

Hope this helps;

Murphy’s Law…:mrgreen:

You don’t have to adjust the emissivity until you get into a situation where you are looking at something electrical in the house like the one that Charley from OK showed on the forum last week. Then you want to have the ability and should understand what that is and the effects it can have. While HI may not need emissivity for 80-90% of the thermography they do not having it as even as an option on the camera is generally a situation for a problem in situations that could result in a fatal mistake.

Sort of like flying an airplane into instrument conditions without the necessary instruments. If enough of that happens even in small planes that only kills the individuals in the plane it will eventually effect all of us. Or if you want to look at it another way buying a home on an interest rate that you eventually can’t afford only hurts the whole industry or maybe even the entire country eventually if it is done enough time.

The size of the FLUKE cameras (which at the end of the day will come into play),the lack of a carrying holster, the battery life issues, the size of the files, the inaccuracy in the temperature measurements, and the lack of a light for the digital images easily out weigh a couple hundred dollars for the difference in the cameras.

And I totally agree that they need more than a free online course to use the camera. But if you are going to buy a temperature measurement camera that really can’t measure temperature accurately you might as well just shoot from the hip the entire way. If you want to considered a professional then professional tools and professional training is a must.

OJ Utter
Level 3 itc Thermographer


John, I’m surprised you would make a statement like this. BTW The temp difference is huge, not slight.

I see it time in and time out on this BB the question is generally the same (what camera do you recommend) I guarantee you will not be satisfied if you take this business serious by buying a bottom of the line camera beg and borrow if necessary all of the money it takes to buy a better camera the first time out of the gates. The same with training if your trainer is not a level 3 and been around the block a time or two your not getting the best training available. That is my opinion for what it is worth.

Thanks for your reply. Most of the time the home inspector looks at the
pattern and not the temperature. If the temperature is needed, then
an IR thermometer or a FLUKE camera works well within the tolerance
levels of a home inspection. Those who claim to do exact spot
temperature measurements that will stand up to expert review need to
be able to tell me all the variables they have verified out in the field and
why it is FATAL not to do so.

How do Master Electricians measure hot breakers without an IR camera?
Are they all doing FATAL measurements because they do not own a
FLIR IR camera? The same question would apply to HVAC specialist as well.

John stated:

John, last week Jason Kaylor was kind enough to come to one of my inspections with the Fluke TiR1 and a FLIR, I do not remember the model of the FLIR (I40 maybe?) but it was more expensive than the Fluke, in my opinion, and another inspector who was with me both thought the Fluke was a better Cam for what we would be using them for “Home Inspections”…I particularly liked the Fluke screen having the screen wider horizontally compared to the FLIR having the same size screen but as you know wider vertically. Personally I thought the resolution of the Fluke was better than the FLIR also, but I’m getting old, so it could be an eye issue on my part. The fusion technology was impressive also.

So in the near future, I think I would go with the TIR1 over the FLIR (cannot remember the model) but it was about $7400 I think JJ said compared to the Fluke being considerably lower in price.

Anyway…I liked the Fluke better for what we use them for.

That is the key.

Each inspector needs to buy the camera for his needs.
There is no shame in buying a lower cost camera, if it
serves your needs. (not the i5… smile)

I went head to head with a Level III thermographer who
had no background in construction, and I found more
defects with my BCAM, than he could with his camera
with twice the resolution. He did not know what to
look for and I did. I had to teach him what certain
defects look like and why. He was very humble to
receive my instructions.

He was an expert in his field of use but not in construction.
In his field of use, I could not compete at all.

The cheaper models work pretty well here, when the outside temp might be 110 degrees and the interior home temp 75-78 degrees on average…so it does not take an expensive Cam to pick up anomalies in Phoenix—:cool::smiley:

Remind me never to visit Phoneix in the summer…:shock:
We think 100 is hot.

Let’s take this issues that was shared on this board. http://www.nachi.org/forum/f58/little-warm-side-37088/
Now in this instance Charley took the correct actions. But even in this situation the actual temperature could be 600+ or more, we don’t know because the maximum temperature of the camera was reached.
But if someone doesn’t understand how a copper or aluminum connection can affect temperature measurements can be affected by emissivity then they can overlook an issue or downgrade a situation that could cause a fire. I have look at infrared connections in churches on lighting boards that were less than 3 years old that were causing lights to fail throughout the church, I have looked at lights that burnt out that shortly after inspecting has started on fire and luckily in that situation it shorted out and the business was able to turn off the circuit before more damage was done. John you obviously know the HI industry but I don’t think you should down play an extremely important characteristic of this technology. When I train people it is to pass on the “professional” way to view infrared. If they choose to not take all of it into consideration that is there choice but if I don’t train them properly and something bad happens then not only do I have to live with that for the rest of my life but there can be legal ramifications.
Now this example is an extreme situation but I share it because I am not talking with smoking mirrors here. I performed a scan one time for a company on their switch gear and found a connection that was behind the panel. I told them to inspect the bus bars behind the panel and they didn’t. As a result one of the maintenance guys was doing maintenance on this panel and the bolts holding the bus bars came our and dropped on each other and blew the guy back. Thanks be to God that his life was spared and he was only in the hospital for 2 weeks. Now this was in industrial situation but if someone does a bigger commercial building they could run across something big like this. Or if they have a situation in a breaker box like Charley did and just bypass it. Then it could turn into a fatal situation.
I also have information that shows that the FLUKE cameras don’t always come within the 1-2% that the specifications say they do. I won’t share that on this blog as I am not allowed but it is true. Contact itc if you want to know what they found out.
So I disagree that an HI thermographer doesn’t need to worry about this. Also to base a camera solely off of a salesman demo and the misinformation that is flying around like this is exactly the reason why I am sharing on this forum. It is an awesome thing for all involved that lower cameras are now offered but like with anything holding the professionalism to the highest degree should be considered.
Also to use the comparison of an IR thermometer to an infrared camera is not even a comparison. And just because there hasn’t been any lawsuits that we know for something like this doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways we can stop the chance of a fire in a house. Wouldn’t it be a great thing if ever few years everyone would have their electrical panels inspected by HVAC or HI or electrician. Then things like the electrical panel and wiring that burnt up in my uncles house a few years back on Christmas Eve and burnt their house down won’t happen. I know we have a long way to go until that day but we all have to be doing our part to do the very best we can each and every day.
It is easy to downplay something until you have seen it up close and personal and I have.

OJ Utter
Level 3 itc Thermographer

I want to specifically point out that I do agree with on much of what you have said. I also think that if someone wants to buy and feels that a FLUKE camera will work for them then go for it. I personally like FLIR. In every instance I would choose a FLIR over any other camera and I don’t say that only because I sell the cameras. I say that as someone who has researched all of the cameras before I started selling for FLIR. One of the biggest reasons why I did start selling for FLIR is because of the fabrication in information that I was given by the FLUKE sales person that I talked with when I considered using a FLUKE camera to save a couple thousand dollars. I have since been even more happier that I didn’t go that route for my consulting business as it would have cost me more money in the long run.
I also want to point out again that I am not talking about the 80-90% of the work that HIs do, but the <10%, which is generally what gets overlooked. I also want to point out that I do not do home inspections because I do not have the knowledge that you talk about John on the construction side and that is also why I am here.

Thank You and again Godspeed!
OJ Utter
Level 3 itc Thermographer

Please answer the questions I asked.