Forget bulky equipment—these two thermal imagers from FLIR fit in a pocket. You’ll always be ready to find hot spots, defects, energy leaks, HVAC problems, and plumbing clogs. Let’s look at them both and see which one will be the best for you.
FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Imaging System
What could be handier than a thermal camera that fits in your shirt pocket? (Maybe only the FLIR ONE below.) This little marvel takes both thermal and visual images, then combines the data into one complete picture so that you can easily understand what you’re viewing. You can save up to 500 jpg images in the memory and download them by USB cable to a computer. The FLIR Tools image analysis and report software works with both PC and Mac computers. The software also makes it possible to stream video to elsewhere from the camera once it’s connected with the cable.
If you’re wondering if this is just a toy or a real pro tool, check out these specs. The C2 senses between 14 and 302 degrees Fahrenheit with an accuracy rating of +/-3.6 degrees or 2%, whichever is greater. That’s about as accurate as an infrared thermometer gun. If you need something a little more discriminating, check out the ONE below.
The IR sensor covers 80×60 pixels, and the visible light camera has a resolution of 640×480. The camera has fixed focus andhas a wide field of view for its size–41 by 31 degrees. The visible light camera has to be about 3 feet from what it is focusing on, but the thermal sensor only needs to be 6 inches away from the target.
The 3-inch touchscreen has a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels. There are four color palettes to choose from so you can see what it reveals in the way you prefer. The LED worklight is also the camera’s flash. The C2 runs about two hours straight on its 3.7V rechargeable battery, and it has auto power-off.
More features of the FLIR C2
- USB A to Micro-B cable and charger included in the box
- FLIR offers a 2-year parts and labor warranty on the C2 with a 10-year warranty on the detector
- Weighs about 4-1/2 ounces and measures about 5” x 3” x 1”
FLIR ONE Thermal Imager for iOS
The only thing handier than the FLIR C2 might be this FLIR ONE. Plug it into your iPhone or iPad and you’re ready to do thermal imaging. It’s sensitive to a lower range of cold temperatures, all the way down to 4 degrees F. On the high end it only senses up to 248 F, a bit less than the C2. It’s much more accurate than the C2, detecting a difference as little as 0.18 of a degree. It’s no surprise that it won various awards from Macworld, PCMag, and Popular Science when it was announced in 2014. It’s a hard item for stores to keep in stock.
The ONE comes with its own visible light camera that takes VGA-quality photos and videos, as well as the Lepton thermal camera. Like the C2, it has a selection of color palettes and the MSX overlay so you can easily interpret what you’re seeing. The main advantages of the ONE versus the C2 are that you have a larger screen and the app functions are all available without needing a computer.
The FLIR app can do panorama, time lapse, and close up images. It also has a spot meter that tells the temperature at the point you select. You can save images to your phone’s camera roll or share them by message, email, Twitter, Instagram, and so forth. The app also tells the status of the battery in the ONE. (It has its own built-in battery so it does not drain your cell phone.)
More features of the FLIR ONE
- One-year limited warranty with the possibility of extending it 18 months longer with registration
- Comes with a protective case and charging cable
- Weighs 2.75 ounces and measures 2.8 x 1 x 0.7 inches
- Lightning connector compatible with iPhone 6s, 6, 5s, 5, iPad Air, Air 2, Mini 3, Mini, and 4th Generation
If you need to detecthigher temperatures between 248 and 302 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to get the C2. The ONE can’t sense temperatures above 248 degrees.
If you have an iPhone or an iPad with a Lightning connector, the ONE may be exactly what you want. It has an even more accurate thermal camera and all the software functions you need are right there in the app installed on your phone. You don’t need to find a computer to share images or videos. You can also potentially store much more thermal data on your phone than you could in the C2’s internal memory.