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6 Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android Devices

Here’s the thing:

You can capture images that your naked eye can’t see, or your ordinary camera can’t take.

How? Use a thermal imaging camera for Android.

Yes, it sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but it’s real.

Have you ever dreamed of catching a mystery object that’s hiding in the darkness? Or see whether your water tubes have microscopic holes in them?

With thermal imaging, you can answer the abovementioned questions with a resounding yes.

You can do other things as well: investigating fire accidents, detecting leaky pipes, finding lost objects, and the list goes on. Speaking of such things, you might also be interested in using your Android phone as a security camera.

Isn’t that pretty interesting?

But what is it, and how does it work? Let’s find out.

What Is a Thermal Imaging Camera?

A thermal imaging camera is a type of thermographic camera that uses infrared radiation. It detects areas of heat behind walls or other solid objects and can also check whether the circuit breaker is overloaded or if the water channels have a leak.

So, how does it work?

It shoots images differently from ordinary cameras. It captures and detects heat signatures or infrared radiation from each object.

The radiated heat varies from object to object, that’s why you’ll see a palette of colors, ranging from red, yellow, orange, blue, and other colors.
A thermal imaging camera comes with a thermal sensor that picks up this radiated heat and captures them as images.

Related: Best Android Camera Smartphones

A Brief History on Thermal Imaging

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - technology brief history

The history of thermal imaging goes back to the year 1800 C.E. when Sir William Herschel discovered infrared radiation. Eighty years later, a topnotch inventor named Samuel Pierpoint Langley created the bolometer, which is a thermometer that uses infrared radiation.

It goes way back, right?

In the early 20th century, thermal imaging gained momentum because of its role in military activities in World War II. When the Hungarian physicist Kálmán Tihanyi made the first-ever IR camera in 1929, the British troops used it to detect warplanes.

Tech companies EEV and Philips became interested in this innovation and made a device that helps firefighters locate flames despite smoke, darkness, or heat-permeable barriers. FLIR also joined the bandwagon and created a thermal imaging camera for vehicles.

Where Can I Use Thermal Imaging?

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - electrical wires

Aside from military officers and firefighters, thermal imaging cameras are also beneficial for those whose jobs are related to building or house construction. They can easily spot leaks on water tubes or detect which areas need more insulation.

That’s not all!

Cops can also use a thermal imaging camera in their search operations because it lets them spot a suspect hiding in the dark. Pest control professionals can locate pest ingress and the pests themselves.

If you’re a regular office worker, thermal imaging devices can easily detect when your boss is coming to the office before he’s there. This device comes in handy if you don’t want him to catch you doing non-work related things on your desk.

Jokes aside, a thermal imaging camera is no doubt one beneficial gizmo for the military and civilians alike.

Related: Home Security Camera Systems

Why You Should Use an Android-based Thermal Imaging Camera

Why Should You Use These Cameras

The original thermal imaging camera is a standalone device that doesn’t need to pair with mobile handsets. However, with the increase of the smartphone’s popularity, some makers decided to integrate the thermal camera’s functionality to our beloved Android phone.

That’s right!

The thermal camera for Android combines value and portability in one. Standalone thermal cameras usually cost thousands of dollars, while Android-based ones are notably cheaper, plus, the latter option is small enough to be placed anywhere.

Look:

It’s a no-brainer to think that the cheaper thermal camera for Android would not exceed the quality the standalone cameras offer. At the very least, they don’t compromise the class to the point that they become inaccurate and unuseful.

Another benefit of having a thermal imaging camera for Android is that you can send the heat index information to anyone almost immediately. Good value for money, easy portability, and automatic data sharing – these are sensible reasons enough to get a thermal camera for Android.

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android

Best OverallHT-301 Thermal Camera
CheapestSEEK Thermal Compact XR
Best Value for MoneyTherm-App Compact Thermal Imager
Highly RecommendedSEEK Thermal CompactPRO
Runner UpsFLIR ONE (3rd Gen)
 FLIR One Pro

See also: Best Endoscopes for Android Phones

What Makes the Best Thermal Camera for Android?

To help you decide which is the best thermal camera for Android, you have to consider these factors:

High Thermal Camera Resolution

First and foremost, you should consider the thermal camera resolution of the device. Please note that the thermal camera resolution is different from the display resolution.

Remember this rule: The higher the thermal camera resolution is, the more accurate the measurements and sharper the images will be.

Wide Temperature Range

The rule mentioned above also applies here: The higher the temperature range, the better. If you plan to use the thermal camera at work, you should settle for a device that can handle -40 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit of heat.

For home use, a thermal imaging camera with -14 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit capacity will do. It can still detect minor stuff like water leaks and costs cheaper.

Android Phone Compatibility

You should be looking for a thermal camera that supports a lot of Android phones and, most importantly, one that is compatible with your smartphone. It would be useless to purchase a thermal imaging camera that you can’t pair with your device.

Reasonable Pricing

Of course, there’s no specific price range for these products. However, most of the Android-based thermal cameras don’t exceed 1 thousand dollars, while some of them are even lower than 500 hundred bucks.

Looking at the features they can offer, you should know whether one has a reasonable price.

6 Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android

There are several Android-based thermal imaging cameras available in the market. However, we decided to narrow it down to the best thermal imagers, those produced by among the trusted makers of thermal cameras, such as FLIR and SEEK.

Here they are.

1. FLIR One Pro

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - FLIR One Pro
FLIR One Pro With VividIR and MSX Image Enhancement Technology

FLIR can be considered an expert in making thermal cameras given its long history in the field.

Here’s another one FLIR has to offer, the FLIR One Pro, and it didn’t fail to impress us. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best thermal camera for Android from FLIR.

Key Features:

  • 1440 x 1080 visual resolution
  • Accurate temperature measurement from a distance (4F to 752 F)
  • Enhanced video and image processing (MSX and VividIR)
  • Battery life: approximately 1 hour

Thermal Camera Resolution

The FLIR ONE Pro’s thermal camera resolution is said to be 160 x 120 pixels, which is quite higher than most standard thermal cameras in the market.

Temperature Range

When it comes to the temperature range, the FLIR ONE Pro can read temperatures as high as 752 degrees Fahrenheit. Perfect for industrial uses and heavy-duty usage.

Android Compatibility

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - FLIR One Pro Compatibility
Compatible With Most Android (USB-C) Phones

It is compatible with Android phones having USB Type-C connectors. However, it only supports Android with versions 4.4.2 and above.

Note: For commercial purposes, non-US military end-users and controlled under US regulations only.

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2. SEEK Thermal CompactPRO

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - SEEK Thermal CompactPro
High-Resolution Thermal Camera for Android

SEEK Thermal is another company that specializes in creating thermal imaging cameras.

One of their best products right now is the SEEK Thermal CompactPRO. Just like the FLIR ONE Pro, it deserves our attention and appreciation.

Key Features:

  • 320x 240 Thermal Sensor
  • Detection Range of -40F° to 626°F
  • 32° Field of View
  • Focusable Lens
  • 9 Color Palettes
  • < 9 Hz Frame
  • 1800 ft View Distance

Thermal Camera Resolution

The SEEK Thermal CompactPro offers a full thermal camera resolution of 320 by 240 pixels. As you can see, this one’s higher than that of the FLIR ONE Pro.

Temperature Range

The thermal imaging camera from SEEK can detect temperatures from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 626 degrees Fahrenheit.

Android Compatibility

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - SEEK Thermal CompactPro Compatibility

It makes use of micro-USB or USB-C depending on what you need and is compatible with most Android devices running Android 4.3 or higher OS. To be sure, check their website for a full list of compatible phones.

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3. SEEK Thermal Compact XR

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - SEEK Thermal Compact XR
Seek Thermal CT-AAA COMPACT XR

If the price of SEEK CompactPro is too much for you, check out their Compact XR instead. Although it has a lower thermal resolution and a narrower field of view than the CompactPro, it is still an excellent camera considering its price.

Key Features:

  • 206×156 Thermal Sensor
  • Detection Range of -40F° to 626°F
  • Focusable Lens
  • 9 Color Palettes
  • < 9 Hz Frame
  • 20° Field of View

Thermal Camera Resolution

The SEEK Thermal Compact XR comes with a thermal camera resolution of 206 by 156 pixels. Although less than the CompactPRO, its specs are quite lovely for thermal cameras.

Temperature Range

Compact XR can detect temperatures from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 626 degrees Fahrenheit with an 1800 ft range.

Android Compatibility

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - SEEK Thermal Compact XR Compatibility

Like the CompactPro, this camera makes use of micro-USB or USB-C depending on what you need and is compatible with most Android devices running Android 4.3 or higher OS. Again, to be sure, check their website for a full list of compatible phones.

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4. Therm-App Compact Thermal Imager

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - Therm-App Compact Thermal Imager
Therm-App TH Thermal Imaging Camera Lens

If you’re looking for a professional-level thermal camera, check out this compact thermal camera from Therm-App. It is highly capable, professional, and innovative.

With this handheld and durable device, you can take accurate images and temperature measurements on the go. You can also easily and quickly share photos and videos.

Key Features:

  • 384 x 288 image quality
  • Auto and manual temperature scales
  • Threshold cold/hot marking
  • Multiple-color palettes
  • Instant sharing and streaming
  • Low power consumption

Thermal Camera Resolution

It has a high image quality at 384 x 288 pixels. It’s higher than the FLIR ONE Pro and the SEEK Thermal XR.

Temperature Range

Its measurement accuracy is +/-2°C (up to 200°C).

Android Compatibility

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - Therm-App TH

Therm-App thermal imagers are compatible with most Android devices that run on Android 4.1 or higher, and those that support USB OTG.

If you’re looking for entry-level thermal cameras, we recommend the FLIR and SEEK thermal imaging cameras. However, if you’re here to get a professional-level for more detailed inspections, then Therm-App is an excellent choice.

But since its professional-level, expect more pricing. By how much? Expect triple or more than the pricing of FLIR and SEEK Android-based thermal imagers.

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5. HT-301 Thermal Camera

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - HT-301
HTI-Xintai Thermal Imaging Camera for Android

If you’re looking for other brands aside from FLIR and SEEK, try this camera from Hti-Xintai. Do not belittle this camera because it has a thermal resolution of 344×288.

The device utilizes videos and images in real-time, so that you can use it for measuring different temperatures easier. With its plug and play feature, its convenient for both professional and personal use.

It also uses your phone’s battery life, so unlike other cameras, you don’t have to charge it from time to time.

Key Features:

  • 384 x 288 IR Resolution
  • Real-time display of multi-point temperature
  • Uses different temperature measurements to identify which areas are hot or cold
  • Quick focus and adjust feature
  • Minimal battery usage

Thermal Camera Resolution

It has an IR resolution of 384 x 288 pixels, which is high, considering the other cameras for Android.

Temperature Range

HT-301 got a measurement accuracy of +/-2°C with a range of -20°C to 400°C.

Android Compatibility

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - HT-301 Compatibility

This excellent thermal imaging camera can support Android with a version of 6.0 and above.

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6. FLIR ONE (3rd Gen)

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - FLIR ONE 3rd Gen
FLIR ONE 3rd Gen

If the FLIR ONE Pro is too much for you, maybe the 3rd generation FLIR One is the right one for you. It is a powerful thermal imaging camera that helps you identify problems around your home, and allows you to see in darkness.

The FLIR ONE also has an adjustable connector, so that you’ll have no problems in adjusting the camera. So whether you’re taking a look around your house, or looking to capture a thermal image of yourself, this camera got you covered.

Key Features:

  • Accurate temperature measurement from a distance (-4F to 248 F)
  • Enhanced video and image processing (MSX)
  • Battery life: approximately 1 hour

Thermal Camera Resolution

The 3rd generation FLIR ONE thermal camera resolution is 80 x 60 pixels, which is a lot less when comparing to the Pro version.

Temperature Range

It can measure temperature from -4 degrees to 248 degrees Fahrenheit.

Android Compatibility

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - FLIR ONE 3rd Gen Compatibility

Compatible with most Android devices with a USB-C port.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Conclusion

Thermal imaging cameras aren’t just a thing for military officers, construction-related workers, firefighters, or pest control professionals; all of us can make use of this breakthrough.

Whatever it is that you want to check, may it be a circuit breaker or a water tube, a thermal camera proves to be the perfect device for the task.

Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Android - Conclusion

Spending a few hundred bucks on a thermal imaging camera won’t hurt if you need it to accomplish a specific job. With the aid of your Android phone, using a thermal camera will be so convenient and less complicated.

Have you tried using a thermal imaging camera on your Android phone? If not, are you planning to try one? Share your experiences in the comment section below!

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