Thermal Imagers vs. Infrared Thermometers: Understanding the Differences

Thermal Imagers vs. Infrared Thermometers: Understanding the Differences


In today's world, thermal imager and temperature measurement devices have become crucial across various sectors. Two most commonly used non-contact instruments for this purpose are thermal imagers and IR based Infrared thermometers. Both of these technologies are used for similar purposes but they have very different sets of applications. There is always a confusion which technology is right for your application. In this article, we will learn about differences between a Thermal imager and IR based Thermometers and how to choose the right technology for your application.  

Thermal Imager                                           Infrared Thermometer

                 Thermal Imager                   Infrared Thermometer


Thermal Imagers

Thermal imagers work on the principle of infrared radiation. They convert the IR radiation emitted by an object into a thermal image. The thermal imager gives you the complete temperature profile along with the visual image which makes the analysis more easier for the user. 

Here are some key features and advantages of thermal imagers:

  • Temperature Profiling: Thermal imaging cameras create a thermal image for the viewer which helps the viewer to pinpoint the hotspot on the objects very quickly. There are various application where just measuring temperature is not enough or convenient way to predict any kind of abnormal behavior so analysis by thermal imaging camera becomes very crucial.
  • Temperature Range: Thermal imagers are capable of capturing a wide range of temperatures, making them suitable for various applications, like identifying moisture in buildings to detect overheated components in industrial machines or any process application, refractory lining healthiness checking for all these applications having a wide range of advantages.
  • Software Analysis: Thermal Imagers are also supplied with reporting software which can be used by the user to calculate specific point temperature, various profiles and graphs for detailed analysis. You can also generate a report using this kind of software to ensure proper record maintenance and future references.
  • Real-time Monitoring: Online/Fixed type thermal imagers offer real-time monitoring capabilities, making them useful for continuous process monitoring and surveillance. Many applications require 24/7 monitoring for the uninterrupted quality of production. In those applications, an online thermal imager comes very handy in use.

Infrared Thermometers

Infrared thermometers, also Infrared Pyrometers, are handheld devices used for measuring the surface temperature of objects. Infrared Pyrometers is a spot temperature measurement device.  Infrared Pyrometers also work on the same principle of IR radiation. But Infrared Pyrometers do not convert the Infrared radiation into images rather into temperature units only. Digital thermometers emerged in the market because there were applications where contact-type sensors failed due to some constraints so to resolve this issue IR guns were used in those applications.

 Here are some key features and advantages of Infrared Thermometers (Pyrometers):

  • Instantaneous Measurement: Infrared thermometers provide a quick temperature reading facility which makes it best suitable for fast temperature measurement applications. Infrared thermometers were widely used in covid-19, when temperature checking was really required in various public places as these are effective instantaneous temperature measuring tools.
  • Compact and Portable: Infrared Pyrometers are very small, lightweight, and easy to carry making it very convenient to use in the field by any plant person. IR thermometers can be widely used in various applications due to its convenient hardware.
  • Point-and-Shoot: Infrared Pyrometers are very easy to use and convenient devices for non-contact temperature measurement. There is no such training required to use this kind of IR thermometer. Any person can instantly learn and start using these kinds of IR temperature guns.

Affordability: Infrared Pyrometers are way cheaper than thermal imaging cameras making it an affordable technology for temperature measurement. If your motive is just temperature measurement then choosing this kind of IR temperature Gun is the best and affordable solution.

Choosing the Right Tool

To choose between a thermal imager and an Infrared thermometer you must know your application and need. You can analyze your application whether it requires a complete thermal analysis or spot temperature only. By just analyzing your basic needs you can easily choose what you need for your application. But Here are some guidelines to help you make the right choice:

  • Thermal Imager: Choose a thermal imager when you want to inspect your application by complete thermal profiling of it choosing an Infrared thermometer will not be a perfect solution for your application. They are ideal for tasks like building inspections, industrial equipment maintenance, and energy audits.

Thermal Imager1  Thermal Imager 2

  • Infrared Thermometer: Choose an Infrared Thermometer when you require quick temperature measurement only and no need for thermal image. Infrared Pyrometers is best spot temperature measurement device and if your application requires only spot temperature analysis you can easily opt for this technology. They are suitable for applications like food safety, automotive diagnostics, HVAC system checks, industrial applications and medical use.

In conclusion, both thermal imagers and Infrared thermometers are very useful tools for non contact temperature measurement. You have to understand your application and goal before choosing one of these technologies into your application. You should opt for perfect technology which will give you the desired results.

Tempsens is a leading manufacturer of thermal and cable solutions that offers a wide variety of Thermal Imaging Cameras and Pyrometers. Tempsens provides both an online and portable series of thermal imagers and pyrometers in range. You can visit our website to check out our product range. Or you can contact us for any kind assistance. We can demonstrate our thermal imaging cameras and Infrared thermometers to help you understand more easily.

For more details visit at: Thermal Imager