Looking 4 good inexpensive thermal cameras

I have learned more from them than I can say! Get thick skin and dive in, ignore the bedside manner and listen to actual points being made. They are invaluable.


I did stay on point. you’re putting the cart before the horse. You have insufficient education to determine your needs. Otherwise you wouldn’t be asking for “cheap - good” equipment. An oxymoron if I ever heard one.


And some of us used to build computers, probably before you were born. Your thank you for today’s technology :slightly_smiling_face:


My first imager, that I bought after I completed some weeks long certifications, was a Flir B-400 w/ high temperature option and cost $17,000.00. One can purchase a comparable imager now for about 1/3 of that.

The experienced inspectors above are trying to give you good info so that you can succeed. Listening to them is in your best interest.

P.S. Infrared does not “see” into walls and competent schooling will help you understand that and many other nuances of the anomalies that you will run into. And, it can help you decide what would be in your best interest (and your client’s) how and what to use it for.

Good luck.


Thank you for your advice

I do not think a single “fossilized” inspector said they did not use thermal. In fact, most of the actual thermal experts I know fall into the “fossilized” category with decades of experience. Did you ask?

Many of the things you mentioned above that a thermal can be used for can be; but are often misdiagnosed. And this “irrefutable evidence” you referred to will fall apart immediately when dragged into a court room to face a thermal pro.

I am not going to pick apart all of your misuses or pitfalls (such as using the MSX feature), but you are the one who said “I am just starting out” That was premise for all the responses. Notably the first two in this thread!

(edit, I see now your post is from a private conversation. He/she said the exact same thing as everyone else did in this post. But, chose to malign the experienced inspectors and then chose to feed you candy coated syrupy words to spare your feelings.)


:roll_eyes: I wonder if the old dinosaurs on this forum have caught on to this little sparkling nugget? David, please keep us posted with more helpful hints :rofl:


Lol …. Thank you :pray:t2:

I miss spoke.
All i asked was about a decent good camera.

And responded 11 times. Good luck with your search for the right camera.


Come on, fossils, cut the guy a break. You too knew more than the experienced guys when you were first starting out.


David, I am curious what infrared courses you have taken?


Some of us tried… :man_shrugging:


What about Chinese brands in the same price range, still suck? I see many gravitate toward HIKmicro and HTI. They have improved tremendously in the past few years.


A $4,000 Flir is not worth the $200 (inspection price of a cheap home inspection) if it is used by someone untrained. Training is important and Then REAL World Experience is what makes for a good to professional Inspector/Thermographer. You need to Know What you are “seeing”.

I do not believe you need to pay over $500 (Not “Flir”) for a Thermal Camera capable for use while performing A Home Inspection. We are not needing to be that precise or diagnose the electrical panel’s cause for apparent hot areas we might discover…or diagnose the enflamed knee joint and what associated tendons are involved with that Triple Crown contender (not what we do).

Yes I know you are not going to find a decent and capable “Flir” Brand for less than $1,500 (way over priced because of name brand). You can however find others such as SEEK or HIKMICRO. The HIKMICRO B-20 has 256x192 res, with WiFi and sells for about $550, I just purchased one for about $440 on a cyber Monday deal. It is comparable to a $2,000 + Flir…With the savings, (Not buying the name “Flir” name (IMO)), you can also purchase a nice Moisture detector/meter which is a must when using Thermal Imaging while doing a home inspection…otherwise you will be seeing water, water everywhere.
You need to understand house science while using a thermal imaging camera or you will be degrading the quality of the home inspections, not enhancing the inspection and reporting value to your clients.


Yes, I have this one:
Amazon.com: Hti-Xintai 384 X 288 High Resolution Thermal Camera Imager with 3.5” TFT Display Screen, Infrared Imaging Camera with WiFi, Built-in 8GB Digital Storage and Adjustable Focus Thermal Camera with 25HZ : Industrial & Scientific

It is very sensitive to temps, and has a 25hz refresh rate, so you arent waiting for it to refresh as you walk around. A single drop of water will stand out like a sore thumb.
I have mentioned before, it rivals a $4k Flir as far as sensitivity, just not the greatest background picture (like msx)
They also have a cheaper camera at about $600, that is still a great camera for what we use them for.



A moisture meter is less accurate in detecting moisture than a thermal camera if you have adequate training.
See recent thread here about moisture meters.
Click on this link:

1.) Flir hacked E4 on eBay (I paid around $1,100)

2.) DJI Mini 2 (I paid around $600 for the Fly More package)

Inexpensive is a subjective term … those were inexpensive to me, but I also wasn’t just starting out when I acquired those tools.


Don’t know. Maybe some others will chime in with their experience using those. They weren’t on my radar when I was shopping.

All of us fossils that first started using IR when it came out to laymen started with a 180x180 camera that beat the hell out of pouring liquid nitrogen into the camera to make it run. The guys before us still have the scars that reflects their experience.


It took a hell of a lot of training, then experience, to properly use these first 180x180’s to identify what the camera was showing. If you go back into the NACHI Archives, you will find that everyone here just starting out attended formal training first. Blue means moisture did not pan out.

Then came a guy that tried to create shortcuts without training. That trend is still on the downward slope, as evident here. Instead of telling us how little it takes too use an IR camera, how about teaching what is needed to accurately use a POS camera. We used the first cameras that came out by looking for temperature differentials that did not belong there (based on knowledge of building construction that many new inspectors haven’t even acquired yet). We then went up in the attic, inside accessible walls, to visually see what was the cause. No moisture meter and call it a day. The moisture meter was the “second opinion” before climbing back up into radially inaccessible spaces (which were outside home inspection standards, and for what you were insured for).

That system worked, and it still does. But as we look around the internet, there is evidence of extremely inaccurate diagnosis of the thermal scans people post. So, the argument is not that you can’t use crap cameras, it’s about you don’t know what you don’t know, till you know!