A thermal imager (TI) is a powerful tool for many applications, including wildlife monitoring, energy audits, electrical inspections, gas detection surveys and predictive maintenance. Choosing the right TI depends on your needs and budget. Here are some things to consider as you shop:

Pixels and Resolution

The detector in a TI is made up of independent squares of pixels that react to the infrared radiation striking them by transmitting it into electronic signals that are then converted into a colour map of different temperatures. This is displayed on the camera screen. The number of pixels in a detector and its size determines resolution and potential image quality, but the software used to process these signals plays an even greater role.

Different materials absorb and reflect EM radiation at different rates. This can skew the measured temperature of an object when using a TI. To eliminate this issue, a thermographer may apply a standard material of known emissivity to the subject being inspected. This could be as simple as industrial emissivity spray or a piece of standard black insulation tape.

The ability to measure and record temperatures is vital for the use of a thermal imaging camera, and it’s also important that these measurements are consistent and accurate. Look for a model that offers easy-to-use in-camera tools for entering emissivity and reflected temperature values to produce correct and repeatable results. This can help you document and communicate accurate findings to clients or colleagues.

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