Thermal cameras are widely used by hunters and wildlife enthusiasts to obtain a reliable vision of animals, even in total darkness. Unlike night vision systems, they don’t require light to produce images. If you’re wondering what brand is worth investing in, here’s our compilation of the best thermal imaging cameras.
OUR #1 RATED
Seek Thermal RevealPRO Thermal Imaging Handheld Camera
OUR #2 RATED
FLIR Systems C5 Compact Thermal Camera
OUR #3 RATED
FLIR Instruments TG165 9Hz Spot Thermal Camera
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Thermal Imaging Cameras for Hunting in 2021
- 1.1 1. Seek Thermal RevealPRO Thermal Imaging Handheld Camera
- 1.2 2. FLIR Systems C5 Compact Thermal Camera
- 1.3 3. FLIR Instruments TG165 9Hz Spot Thermal Camera
- 1.4 4. Seek Thermal Revealpro – Ruggedized
- 1.5 5. Thermal Imaging Camera-Handheld Infrared Camera with Real-Time Thermal Image
- 1.6 6. Seek Thermal - Shotpro
- 1.7 7. CAT S62 PRO
- 1.8 8. Seek RevealXR RT-ACA
- 1.9 9. PerfectPrime IR0002
- 1.10 10. PerfectPrime IR0018
- 2 How Thermal Imaging Works
- 3 Thermal Imaging Cameras Buying Guide
- 4 FAQs
- 5 And Our #1 Thermal Imaging Camera for Hunting is...
Top 10 Thermal Imaging Cameras for Hunting in 2021
1. Seek Thermal RevealPRO Thermal Imaging Handheld Camera
RevealPPro is a rugged, portable, easy-to-use, and affordable thermal camera. The thermal sensor has an adjustable resolution, 320 x 240. It offers 9 standard and high contrast palettes to get a clear, sharp image. Users can conveniently choose the color that best fits their environment and target.
This camera has a wide 32-degree field of view, 4x digital zoom, 2.4-inch color display, and Wi-Fi compatibility mode. Its built-in 300 lumen LED flashlight function is quite handy for making easier search and detection.
It’s powered by lithium-ion batteries that can last up to 4 hours in a normal mode setting. Its detection distance range is between 12inch to 1,800ft. The thermal sensitivity range is -40˚C to 330˚C (-40˚F to 626˚F).
RevealPro will detect and measure heat sources and record data, both during daytime and nighttime. It’s perfect for hunting varmints, especially at night.
2. FLIR Systems C5 Compact Thermal Camera
C5 Compact Thermal Camera is a rugged, compact, effective, and reliable handheld thermal camera. The IR sensor is 160×120 resolution, which is equivalent to 19,200 pixels. It features LED flashlight, 5-megapixel visual camera, and MSX (Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging).
It is a touchscreen device, which allows for easy and fast inspecting and scanning. It offers seven color palettes, including rainbow, iron, arctic, gray, rainbow HC, and lava.
The screen of this monocular imager allows rotation for convenient viewing. Its object temperature range is -20 to 400°C (-4 to 752°F). It’s powered by a rechargeable built-in Lithium-ion battery that can continuously operate for four hours. It’s rated IP54, which means it is resistant to water and dust.
C5 can directly upload and store images to the FLIR Ignite Cloud to help users backup their files. This method allows sharing of images to customers or furnishing reports documenting problems and needed repairs.
3. FLIR Instruments TG165 9Hz Spot Thermal Camera
TG165 is one of the best performing monocular handheld thermal cameras on the market as it’s quick, intuitive to use, and portable. It was designed to withstand harsh environments and can survive a 2-meter drop. This camera can quickly locate a target and hot or cold spots for instant troubleshooting.
The colored LCD screen measures 2.4-inch with a screen resolution of 320X240 pixels. Its refresh rate is at 9Hz. Its 50o field of view allows for better viewing of images. It stores data and images for documentation purposes on an SD card.
FLIR’s Innovative Lepton IR helps find and accurately aim at hot targets. Thus, eliminating guesswork and saving time. This thermal camera can handle high temperatures. It can measure hot spots up to 716° F (380°C) from a safe distance. A rechargeable lithium-ion battery operates it.
4. Seek Thermal Revealpro – Ruggedized
Revealpro is one of the best thermal monocular cameras on the market. It features a 320 x 240 resolution and offers 4x digital zoom. The thermal sensor is incredibly efficient at finding and fixing problems at home or on the job site. It has a 300 lumen LED flashlight, tough rubberized casing, and large color display.
The detection range is from -40F° to 626°F. It has nine color palettes to provide convenience and efficiency in detecting heat signatures. This thermal camera can detect IR from 12 inches to 18,000 feet. The field of view is 32°.
It’s functional both day and night, making it a good hunting companion in pitch-black environments. It’s operated by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can last up to 4 hours of continued use.
5. Thermal Imaging Camera-Handheld Infrared Camera with Real-Time Thermal Image
This is a multifunctional thermal camera that can be used for hunting, maintenance, and industrial-mechanical applications. It has a 220 x 160 IR resolution (35,520 total pixel) and a 2.4-inch display screen. The temperature range is -20°C to 300°C, while the thermal sensitivity is 0.07°C
For a more detailed display of subjects or targets, this camera offers 5 different color palettes: iron oxide red, rainbow, cold color, white heat, and black heat. The field of view is 27o, which is decent enough for a clearer view of the target. The infrared camera menu features intuitive icons for quick and efficient use of the device.
This monocular thermal camera can store images instantly in a micro SD card and its troubleshooting is fairly easy and fast. Five AA alkaline batteries are required to operate it.
6. Seek Thermal - Shotpro
Shotpro is a compact, handheld imaging camera that is pocketable and features impressive capabilities. It has a 320×240 thermal resolution, making images clear, sharp, and accurate. It can quickly identify, diagnose, and report mechanical anomalies or heat signatures of animals. Shotpro offers eight color palettes for easier inspecting of targets.
The large color touchscreen measures 3.5 inches with 640×480 resolution for more in-depth detail. Its field of view is 57° and features a 9Hz refresh rate. It can pick up temperature signatures from -40°F to 626°F. Shotpro runs by one lithium-ion battery that can remain functional for four hours of continuous use.
Its Seek Fusion technology combines visible and thermal images so users can locate and identify exactly what they are looking for. Through its SeekView Mobile app and Wi-Fi connection, users can also transfer images or stream live thermal videos on their smartphone or tablet.
7. CAT S62 PRO
It’s a durable smartphone with an integrated thermal camera that checks for temperatures in any surroundings. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor Octo Core 2.0GHz with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It’s also compatible with a 256GB memory card for saving more data. It comes with a 4,000 MAh battery which can last up to two days.
It’s an Android 10 smartphone that can be upgraded to 11. With its IP68 and Mil-Spec 819H design, this device is resistant to water, dust, and impact. It features 1080×2160 pixels and a 5.7-inch display. The main camera includes the following functions: temperature spot meter, visible light camera, heat palettes, LED light.
CAT S62 PRO also features an accelerometer, proximity, fingerprint (rear-mounted), and e compass. Its detection range is at most 30m away. It’s compatible with GSM carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, and GSM SIM CARDS.
8. Seek RevealXR RT-ACA
Seek RevealXR Is a compact, durable, and efficient handheld thermal scanning device. It can be used for hunting, inspection, threat detection, search and rescue, and surveillance. It features a 240×320 IR resolution, a 206×156 thermal sensor, and 2.4-inch screen.
The viewing range of this thermal camera hovers around 900 feet. The detection range is 900ft away, while the field of view is 20°. Its large color display allows for sufficient and clear viewing of targets. The 300 lumen LED light is helpful in dim settings. It saves thermal images directly to the included SD card.
The detectable temperature ranges from -40oF to 626oF with a refresh rate of 9hz. The rubberized casing makes this thermal camera ideal for day and night outdoor use. This thermal camera is available in either pure Black.360 Degree Spin or TrueTimber Kanati Camo.
9. PerfectPrime IR0002
PefectPrime IR0002 is an ideal thermal camera for home inspections, car maintenance, night hunting, and other mechanical, industrial, and electrical applications. The IR resolution is 60×60 (3,600 pixels). The display screen is 2.4-inch full-angle HD.
It offers digital zoom options and its 8GB SD card can store hundreds of thermal images and data. This thermal camera can detect temperatures ranging from -4°f to 572°f (-20-300°C). Its thermal sensitivity is 0. 15°C while the temperature accuracy is ± 2% or ± 2 °C. The refresh rate is 6Hz.
The infrared camera features a long-infrared range electromagnetic spectrum of 9 to 14 μm with a measurement precision of +2% or +2°C. It uses 4 AA alkaline batteries. This thermal camera has various color palettes, including greyscale color, high-contrast color, and iron and spectra color.
10. PerfectPrime IR0018
PerfectPrime IR0018 is a reliable handheld monocular thermal camera that is ideal for hunting and home or industrial use. The navigation buttons are simple and intuitive to use. The display screen is 3.2 inches full angle TFT, while the thermal sensor is 220 x 160. It can detect temperatures ranging from -4°F to ~572°F (-20°C to ~300°C. Its thermal sensitivity is at 0.07°C, while the emissivity adjustability is from 0.01 to 10. The refresh rate is at 9Hz.
PerfectPrime IR0018 has five color palettes, including iron, spectra, cool, black and white. It has a 4GB micro SD card which is sufficient to store a medium amount of images and data. Once turned on, this thermal camera automatically works and locates any target or heat anomalies, eliminating guesswork in the dark.
How Thermal Imaging Works
All objects emit infrared radiation, which is one way of transferring heat, but they are invisible to the naked eye. A greater amount of infrared is emitted as the heat of an object increases. Thermal cameras or thermal imagers detect heat signatures by capturing and recognizing different levels of infrared light.
Thermal cameras use algorithms to convert this radiation into an electronic image that our eyes can see. Inside a thermal camera are tiny measuring devices known as microbolometers. Each pixel is assigned one of these. They record the temperature and then assign a particular pixel to an appropriate color palette.
For a more in-depth explanation, check here.
Thermal Imaging Cameras Buying Guide
Thermal cameras are not inexpensive as their technical features are sophisticated, advanced, and are not mass-produced. The material lenses, algorithm, sensors, and other features, including detection range, temperature range, resolution, thermal sensor, and diversity of hues, drive up the cost of a thermal camera.
Although there might be some cheaper thermal cameras on the market, they could be missing some features. Nevertheless, some affordable thermal cameras or monoculars can get the job done just as much as the pricey ones.
A hunter should look into the type of infrared sensor that is detected by a thermal imager.
Long-wave IR sensors can detect wavelengths between 9 and 14 micrometers. They are used for detecting people, animals, buildings, plants, minerals, hot pools, lava, hot springs, etc.
Near IR sensors can light that have a wavelength range of 12,500 to 4,000 cm-1. They are often used in factories, agricultural sites, and medical facilities to check for leakage, temperature anomalies, moisture, etc.
Passive IR sensors can detect discrepancies in the temperature of an animal and the surrounding area. They can detect the movements of animals and people. They are also used in security alarm systems.
The sensitivity of the microbolometers can influence the distance at which a thermal imaging monocular camera can detect an animal or object. A thermal image can have a far or short detection range.
Suppose a hunter is considering hunting at long distances or in a tricky geographical landscape. In that case, it’s only practical to purchase a thermal imager that has a long detection range, although this may mean a higher cost.
A hunter should consider purchasing a thermal monocular camera with a high IR resolution because it can affect temperature accuracy and image quality. A higher resolution is associated with more pixels per inch, which translates into a high-quality image.
When choosing a thermal camera, also consider the imager format, which refers to the number of pixels on the detector array. Cameras with higher IR resolutions often have a 640×480 detector (307,200 pixels) or a 320×240 detector (76,800 pixels). Standard formats are 160×120 (19,600 pixels), 384×288 (110,592 pixels), 640×480 (307,200 pixels), 1024×768 (786,432 pixels).
Battery life is another essential factor to consider when choosing a thermal camera for hunting. Thermal monocular cameras consume power relatively faster than other night vision devices or visible light cameras.
Some batteries are built-in and rechargeable, while others are detachable and replaceable. Lithium-ion batteries are commonly used, and they typically last 4 to 10 hours depending on use. They need at least 2 to 3 hours of recharging.
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Hunting can be a challenging ordeal not only for the hunters but also for the devices used. Choose a thermal camera that is durable, rugged, impact-resistant, shock-proof, waterproof, and dustproof.
An ideal thermal camera should withstand strong elements and weather conditions and remain functional even in tricky terrains. A portable, pocketable, or handheld camera is easy to carry, especially for a longer time.
Display resolution also refers to pixel dimensions, the maximum number of pixels in each dimension (e.g., 160×240). The higher the display resolution of a thermal camera, the sharper and more detailed a thermal image can be. This is because of having more pixels.[1,2]
Take note that the size of the display screen of a thermal camera and pixels per inch are also important factors to consider. Consider getting a camera with higher resolution or pixels per inch rather than a camera with a big screen size but has lower resolution or pixels.
Thermal Level Adjustability
Choose a thermal camera with an adjustable thermal level to help locate animals or troubled spots accurately.
Thermal tuning or changing the level and span can be done either manually or automatically.
Selecting manual mode will set the highest and lowest temperatures in the span.
Meanwhile, selecting the automatic mode will set the camera to the highest and lowest temperatures within the field of view.
Yes, thermal cameras for hunting are legal in America. However, it’s best to check state laws to be sure and strictly follow hunting guidelines to avoid a penalty, let alone a conviction. Check out what we mean here.
No. Infrared light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that’s invisible to the naked eye, while thermal imagers are devices or cameras used to capture this light. Thermal cameras can detect infrared radiation emitted by humans, animals, plants, and other things. They can passively see all objects irrespective of lighting conditions.
Unlike visible light cameras that don’t rely on heat, thermal cameras mainly detect heat signatures of targets and heat differences of objects in the environment. Snakes are cold-blooded animals so they don’t give off heat and are therefore not detected by thermal imaging devices.
And Our #1 Thermal Imaging Camera for Hunting is...
We think that the #1 thermal imaging camera for hunting is the Seek Thermal RevealPRO Thermal Imaging Handheld Camera. This camera has superb features, including long detection distance, great resolution, generous temperature range, and wide field of view.
This camera is rugged and can be used both day and night, making it a reliable hunting tool. It can accurately pick up heat signatures regardless of terrain structures and weather conditions.
This monocular thermal camera is also great for home inspections, DIY activities, industrial and mechanical purposes, rescue operations, and wildlife surveillance. Despite being affordable, its quality and performance are top-rate.
Our #1 Recommendation
Seek Thermal RevealPRO Thermal Imaging Handheld Camera
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