The 9 Best Handheld Thermal Imager Brands in the World

In many instances, both privately and professionally, people need some of the best handheld thermal imager models with them. Not only it can help them uncover possible damages like leaks and overly heating places, but it can come in handy while observing or hunting in nature.

This is due to the fact that thermal imagers are able to detect temperature no matter the weather conditions and tell the person viewing through them where the heat is located. Understandably, they can then act accordingly and remove the threat or simply hunt the animals they want.

The only problem is that sometimes it can be difficult for interested users to find the right imagers that will suit their needs. If you’re one of them, you’re in the right place. In the following paragraphs, we’ll cover all details, starting from full reviews to buyers’ guide and frequently asked questions. Let’s commence!

Top 3 Picks: Best Handheld Thermal Imager


FLIR TG267 Thermal Camera

FLIR TG267 Thermal Camera
Resolution of sensor: 160×120
Storage capacity: 50,000 images
Batteries: 1 lithium battery
Weight: 2.08 ounces


Pulsar Helion Thermal Monocular

Pulsar Helion Thermal Monocular
Resolution: 384×288
Range of detection: 2000 yds
Digital zoom: 4 times
Battery life: 8 hours
Color palette: 8


PerfectPrime IR0018 Infrared Thermal Imager Camera with IR Resolution

PerfectPrime IR0018 Infrared Thermal Imager Camera with IR Resolution
Resolution: 220×160
Field of view: 0.5 meters
Display size: 3.2 inches
Weight: 11.2 ounces

Comparison and Reviews

No matter why you need it, a thermal imager that can be held in the hands is useful. Not only is it portable and functional but it can usually perform some tasks like taking photos and recording videos. For those that are eager to discover which some of the best handheld thermal imagers are, here are free complete reviews with pros, cons, and detailed specifications.

FLIR TG267 Thermal Camera

Weight: 2.08 ounces
Batteries: 1 lithium battery is needed
Storage capacity: 50,000 images
Resolution of sensor: 160×120

What’s interesting about this thermal imager is that it can measure the temperature changes through a variety of processes. With it, people can discover electricity, heat, and other similar problems around the house as well as control and maintain systems and equipment to prevent any serious damages.

With the recording capabilities, users are able to capture videos and photos to examine later and show to people as proof of your work. Yet this isn’t everything the camera is useful for. It’s suitable for many outdoor activities that require detailed observing and analyzing details. For one, people can watch animals from a fair distance with it. The clear and sharp views that it provides help with this.

But as downsides people report the fact that it lacks a case and the picture can freeze sometimes while it’s operating.

Never forget to check the 11 Best Thermal Imaging Monoculars.

Pulsar Axion Key XM30 2.4-9.6×24 Thermal Monocular

Digital zoom: 4 times
Resolution: 320×240
Warranty: 3 years
Internal memory: 16 GB
Weight: 0.69 kilograms

When it comes to thermal monoculars, Pulsar’s Axion Key leads the list with high magnification that can become even greater thanks to the digital zoom. To accompany it, this compact model provides multicolor views from as much as eight color palettes. Also, it has a recorder that’s built-in and gives users a chance to capture videos and share them across devices.

Not to mention that its grip is comfortable and the monocular can be held in one hand for a longer time. Because it’s versatile, people can take it on all of their trips in nature.

Despite this, they complain about the lack of a range finder and a smaller screen.

PerfectPrime IR0018 Infrared Thermal Imager Camera with IR Resolution

Weight: 11.2 ounces
Resolution: 220×160
Display size: 3.2 inches
Field of view: 0.5 meters is the shortest length of the focus
Warranty: 2 years

People can pick from 5 thermal palettes in order to find the right color for showing the heat signatures. Aside from this, the model is known to display sharp thermal images that are in high resolution.

Regardless of the application, the values of the temperature are precise and legit, as well. This detail is accompanied by the accurate live readings that enable users to see exactly which the coldest and warmest point on the screen is. Those that intend to utilize it for various activities should know that it’s versatile and able to provide views through objects. Not to mention that it’s obviously portable and can be held in the hands comfortably.

Still, you should be aware of some cons that users report. Among them, the main ones are related to its inability to detect leaks of natural gas and the small sensor with a high level of noise.

FLIR Ocean Scout TK Monocular

Weight: 1 pound
Snapshots capacity: 1000 thermal snapshots
Viewing distance: 100 yards
Color: gray
Batteries: 1 lithium battery required

Flir is a brand that’s known to produce quality monoculars that operate well both during the day and night. In this model, though, it incorporated thermal capabilities as a plus. With them, they bring many additional features and options. One of them is the chance to record thermal videos and take thermal photos, which can later be shared through different devices.

Understandably, this model can also detect people, animals, and objects based on the temperature. This is applicable on and off the water. And users can choose between various color palettes for seeing the surroundings thermally.

But it should be noted that people experienced issues when seeing creatures from afar.

Thermal Imaging Camera, 320 x 240 IR Resolution

Size of the display: 3.2 inches
Resolution of digital camera: 640×480 pixels
Field of view: 56×42 degrees
Weight: 0.46 pounds
Thermal sensitivity: 0.07 degrees Celsius

There are many applications associated with this thermal imager. Mainly, they’re related to home repairs, discovering problems that involve heat, and even observing in nature. It produces high-quality images that can be seen on the TFT display in full color.

Another special detail is that this model is able to track temperatures in real time. For pronouncing more details on the screen, people can pick between five color palettes. Moreover, the overall design is simplified and user-friendly. With a few buttons and intuitive options, everyone can find their way around it.

But it should be considered that it doesn’t have many different options for transferring the captured filed to external devices.

Seek Thermal Compact-All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera for Android USB-C

Weight: 8.3 ounces
Thermal sensor resolution: 206×156
Field of view: 36 degrees
Color palettes: 9
Viewing distance: 1000 feet

The fact that this thermal imager can be attached to a smartphone or tablet and utilized in unison with it makes it easy to hold and control. It doesn’t need batteries or additional power to operate. And it arrives with a case that’s waterproof.

To be able to take advantage of all options fully, users should download an app on their phone or tablet and control the device through it. As for the resolution, the imager has a sensor that provides crisp views and can go deeper than what the eyes can see when it comes to problems around the house as well as outside observation.

As with everything else, there are some downsides to this model. The potential difficulties reported by owners include troubles with the app and inability to always see through objects that are dense.

Pulsar Helion Thermal Monocular

Digital zoom: 4 times
Range of detection: 2000 yards
Resolution: 384×288
Weight: 1.26 kilograms
Battery life: 8 hours before it needs to be recharged
Color palette: 8

As a premium monocular, the thermal views it produces are in high-quality. In fact, it can detect creatures, people, and objects from afar.

Known for its various applications and uses, Pulsar’s Helion can be a part of outdoor activities that range from hunting and scouting to rescuing and searching for someone. Also, it operates nicely in low and high temperatures.

Thanks to the incorporated rangefinder, users are able to precisely determine the distances and position of the targets. For easier control and transfer of the captured photos and videos, it has an option to be connected to a smartphone or tablet, too.

Finally, the weather can’t do harm to it as it’s waterproof, dustproof, and fog proof. But it can be a bit complicated to see through it in thick forests with many trees, which many users see as a downside.

Milwaukee 2257-20H 102 x 77 Spot Infrared Imager

Size: 102×77 inches
Weight: 7.2 ounces
Batteries: 1 battery of 12 volts is needed for seamless operation

Mainly, people utilize this imager for discovering and taking care of maintenance issues around the home. It’s made with a screen wide enough to show the leaks or similar problems in high-resolution. Connected to this, it can go through large areas and precisely determine what should be done.

Also, it’s made to be held in the hands for a long time with a steady grip. Since its start-up is immediate, users are able to get the right on-the-spot measurements. Therefore, those that need quick yet legit troubleshooting will find great pleasure in this one.

However, some users report that it can be a bit heavy to carry all the time and that its price may be a bit higher when you consider some other thermal imagers in its category.

FLIR 435-0012-03 Model FLIR ONE PRO LT iOS Pro-Grade Thermal Imaging Camera

Weight: 1.28 ounces
Thermal sensitivity: 100 mK
Fixed focus: 15 centimeters to infinity
Resolution of images and videos: 1440×1080
Battery life: around 1 hour

While this isn’t a thermal imager that is meant for professionals, it has some satisfactory features that users should look out for. It enables users to completely analyze their surroundings thermally and see where there are potential problems. Aside from this, they can observe creatures based on their temperature, as well.

It can be paired with an app on the phone in order to enjoy the full experience and have a chance to follow the images live. Speaking of this, users can take still images, record videos, and even take advantage of the time-lapse mode. In terms of the quality, the resolution that the imager provides is high with sharp and detailed views.

Eventually, a handy detail that comes with this model is the connector that’s adjustable and can be extended to allow the device to be connected to the smartphone from a distance. Yet there are some cons that users discuss like the need to get a rubber band to hold the camera in place. Otherwise, apparently, it could easily slip from the phone.

5 Thoughts for Buyers

Going into the process of purchasing a handheld thermal imager blindly isn’t desirable. Naturally, there are a couple of factors and features that people should be aware of beforehand. In this guide, we’ll talk about the qualities of the best handheld thermal imager as well as some characteristics that buyers should pay attention to so that they won’t be fooled.

Magnification Capabilities

Users should be able to get clear visuals even though the subject they’re observing is distanced and far from their standpoint. This is enabled thanks to a thermal imager’s magnification. In other words, this feature will dictate how much a user can zoom in on the subject.

This capability of a handheld thermal imager can even be often seen in the actual name of the model. To illustrate, if there are two numbers separated by an x in the model’s name, the first one usually suggests the magnification powers of the model. The second one refers to the objective lens diameter.

Toughness and Durability

Thermal optics can be a real investment when it comes to the amount of cash one can spend on some models. So, it’s only natural for users to want the products they buy to be sturdy and tough. These models can withstand even the harshest weather conditions and can perform well no matter the surroundings the users can find themselves in.

To achieve toughness, manufacturers make their models waterproof, fog proof, resistant to external conditions, and similar. All of this makes the thermal monocular increasingly long-lasting, which is another aspect we’ll briefly cover in a second.

Besides being tough, users want to use their models for a long time after the original purchase. To last that long, models have to resist shocks, pressure, and all other types of external conditions. Even though they tend to be pricier, durable models serve the user for many days to come. That way they can even save some money that users will spend on buying another monocular once a short-lasting model quickly breaks down.


When we say that a thermal imager is compact, we usually refer to its lightness as well as the small size. When it comes to handheld models, this is very important because, as the name suggests, users can hold them in their hands for as long as the observational activity lasts. Thus, if a model is heavier and bigger, the buyer won’t be able to hold the model in their hand.

Additionally, compact models are great for transportation and taking them with you when you’re traveling. Also, you can easily store them when you’re temporarily not using them.

Power Source

If there is nothing to power up the model, no matter what kinds of specifications the model has, it will still be in vain. It may be surprising to some that there are models that are easily running out of power. Indeed that’s true. So, people should watch out for models like that and instead try their best to find a product that has longer battery life.

Aside from this, you should be mindful of the number of batteries that are required and their type. That way you’ll know which ones to get. It’s even better for some users if they’re rechargeable. This means that the thermal imager won’t run out of power as long as you come close to a source to charge the batteries with. Moreover, you won’t be required to spend more money on purchasing spare batteries to take with you.

Extra Features

Traditionally, the role of the handheld thermal imagers is to observe subjects as an integral part of a profession or an outdoor activity that the user does as a hobby. However, as users’ needs and preferences evolved together with the rapid development of technology, the thermal imagers changed, too.

For one, some models have recording features that enable users to capture images and record videos of what they’re seeing through the lenses. Later, this visual material can be stored on microcards and shared on smartphones for later usage.

Some imagers can connect to the Internet. Thanks to Wi-Fi they can enable an easier transfer of the before-mentioned pictures and videos. Also, they can stream videos on online video platforms because of it.

A built-in rangefinder represents another additional feature of many thermal monoculars. Its task is to measure the distance between the model and the subject. Smart rangefinders can do all the calculations on their own. So, hunters can get the required shot if the thermal imager is utilized for this purpose. Subsequently, when such a device is built into the model’s design, users don’t have to purchase an additional rangefinder. Plus, their hands will be less full because they can just carry with them a thermal imager with a built-in rangefinder instead of having the two separate devices in their hands.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) What’s the difference between thermal and night vision technology?

Answer: Thermal technology is using the heat that is emitted from subjects to generate a heat image or a map of the subject. That is achieved thanks to infrared and thermal energy. With that being said, it’s a slightly newer type of technology when compared to simple night vision. On the other hand, night vision technology depends on the light as well as how strongly a source emits the light.

2) What are the main types of thermal imagers?

Answer: Even though thermal imagers can be categorized in numerous ways, one of the main ones is a head mount thermal imagers, as well as handheld thermal imagers, that we talked about today. As the name suggests, the former imagers are attached to a helmet or other types of headgear. The handheld imagers are made for holding in the hand.

3) What are handheld thermal imagers mainly used for?

Answer: These thermal imagers have a great performance in a wide variety of outdoor activities – from hunting to surveillance and everything in between. Some experts think that generally, they’re great for hunting and wildlife observation. That’s partly the case because these models are increasingly light and small so users can easily hide and not give away their position while at the same time be able to get a great shot or simply quietly observe. However, this is mainly up to the particular model and its specific features. That’s why it’s best to consult with the user’s manual that you get with the purchase for all of these details and more or ask the manufacturer of the particular model.

Final Remarks

After all of this, it can be concluded that handheld thermal imagers are useful additions. Starting from the fact that they are compact and can be held in the hands for a longer time up to their capabilities to detect temperature changes, they offer support while doing repairs at home or enjoying a hunting trip in nature. However, before deciding which thermal imager to purchase, users should focus on certain details. We covered the main ones before together with free reviews of the top brands and models.

Did you find them useful? Do you plan to get a thermal monocular or camera soon? Or do you own one already? Talk to us about everything here in the comments.

Matthew Koch

Hi, I'm Matthew, a passionate blogger and traveler. I'm also a hard-core hiker. Hiking with friends and visiting new places is what I live for. Currently, I'm working at Gear Odds as CEO & Columnist. I would like to provide my best outdoor experience possible.