An infrared thermometer is one of the must-have devices at home. Aside from its wide array of residential uses, it has also become popular in the medical, research, industrial and commercial arenas.

Buying an infrared thermometer can be hard, especially if it is your first time. The technical terms and the factors to consider might be a lot to take in.

We compiled information you need to know before purchasing an infrared thermometer. We broke it down into simple and easy-to-digest parts that even newbies in the industry could understand.

Table of Contents

Best infrared thermometers in the market today

Based on the features measured above, there are the top infrared thermometers you should consider buying. These IRs ticked most, if not all, the necessary capabilities you should look for in a thermometer.

Fluke 62 MAX plus IR thermometer

This is the best overall infrared thermometer on the market today because of its durability and reliability. This industrial-grade non-contact model has dual lasers for precise measurements. It has a temperature range of -22F to 1202F.

It can handle automotive and mechanical repairs because of its small size, which easily fits in tight spaces like pumps, panels, and motors. It can also measure temperatures in breakers, ducts, and vents, which is why it can deal with HVAC and electrical repairs.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy-to-read LCD screen
  • Dust and water resistant with IP54 rating
  • Small and compact enough to be clipped by a carabiner

Cons

  • No drawbacks so far

Easy@Home JXB-178 No-touch forehead thermometer

If you are looking for a no-touch infrared thermometer for medical use, the JXB-178 is the best model for you. You can point it at an adult or child’s forehead at 3-5 cm distance, and after pulling the trigger, the tri-color backlit screen will display the temperature in 1 second.

The screen will change color depending on the temperature range (green, orange, and red for normal temperature, low fever, and high fever, respectively.) It has an accuracy of 0.6F at 89.6F to 109. F temperature range

This thermometer is durable because it is sold by the reputable American company Easy Healthcare Corporation, which has 18 years of experience in the industry.

Pros

  • Can be muted
  • Can save up to 32 readings
  • Fast readings in just one second
  • Medically-grade, FDA-cleared class II
  • Easy to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit
  • Non-contact, based option for hygienic purposes
  • Can measure room and object’s surface temperature
  • Screen will change up to three colors to indicate temperature state

Cons

  • None

Etekcity 1022D dual laser digital infrared thermometer

Despite its lower price, the Etekcity 1022D can be at par with its counterparts in terms of features. Because of its high measurement range at -58F to 1022F or 50C to 550C at +/-2% accuracy, it can be used in cold locations.

For more accurate results, place the thermometer at 14.17 inches or 36 centimeters from the object’s surface.

This thermometer also has a low battery warning and Auto-off function for better battery life. Aside from this, another convenient function is the automatic data hold function which saves the temperature results.

Pros

  • Value for money
  • With backlit LCD night or dark use
  • Quick results at only less than 0.5 seconds
  • With dual class 2 lasers for measurement precision
  • Energy radiated from the surface can be adjusted to cater various surface types

Cons

  • None

Taylor precision products dual infrared/thermocouple thermometer

This Taylor Precision product has dual capacity because it comes with an internal probe and an IR thermometer device, making it an ideal option for measuring cooking temperature.

An infrared thermometer cannot measure cooking temperature alone. Hence, its addition of an internal probe makes it a winner in the kitchen-use category,

Its emissivity can be adjusted to cater to different surfaces. The probe can measure as high as 626F and the temperature range is from -67F to 482F.

Pros

  • Splash proof
  • Comes with two AAA batteries
  • Light and compact at 4.8 ounces, 5.1” x 9.1” x 2”
  • Automatically shuts off for battery life preservation
  • Highly versatile, can be used for roasting, baking, sous, vide, and grilling

Cons

  • None

Etekcity lasergrip 774 non-contact digital laser infrared thermometer

The Etekcity Lasergrip 774 is the best budget model in the market today. With its class 2 laser temperature, this non-contact digital infrared thermometer can measure temperature in less than 500 milliseconds.

You just have to point the thermometer at 14.1 inches (36 centimeters) for better accuracy, and this reading will be projected on the LCD screen for 15 seconds. It has a temperature range of -58F to 716F or -50C to 380C.

Pros

  • Not expensive
  • Durable UV-coated external casing
  • With backlit LCD screen for low light
  • Comes with a 9-volt lithium-ion battery
  • With auto-off function for better battery preservation
  • With battery monitoring through the low battery indicator

Cons

  • Accuracy problems on reflective surfaces because of non-adjustable emissivity

FLIR TG165 spot thermal camera

This thermal camera can easily scan cold or hotspot areas making it ideal for identifying appliances and system issues. It has a range of -25C to 380C or -13F to 716F.

The cool and hot spots are easily differentiated by the color-coded and easy-to-read display. The has an 80×60 resolution with a 9hz refresh rate and 150mK sensitivity using the FLIR’s Innovative IR Imaging Engine.

This makes the FLIR TG165 the best visual infrared thermometer.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use
  • Compact and portable
  • Can survive 2 meters drop (based on drop test)
  • Comes with a USB cable and 8gb micro-SD card
  • Spot thermal camera data can be saved on computer

Cons

  • No drawbacks so far

Etekcity lasergrip 1025D temperature gun with non-contact voltage tester

This temperature gun is your best option for electrical system work because of its voltage detection, which adds extra protection. Even without contact with a surface, you would be able to detect the presence of a live AC voltage through its non-contact voltage (NCV) mode.

Estimations of the voltage will then be displayed on the screen using a series of lines to indicate highs and lows. To locate the maximum voltage source, just follow the sound of the consistent beeping.

The temperature readings range from -50C to 550C (-58F to 1022F).

Pros

  • Comes with a 9-volt battery
  • With backlit display to show the dual lasers’ readings
  • With non-contact voltage (NCV) mode to check live AC voltage
  • With adjustable emissivity for compatibility with different surfaces
  • Has low battery indicator and auto-off feature for lesser battery consumption

Cons

  • Would be better if voltage readings are shown

What is an infrared/laser thermometer?

Infrared thermometers, often referred to as laser thermometers, measure the temperature of surfaces using lasers without the need for direct contact. This non-contact nature makes them particularly useful in industrial applications, where objects might be too hot to touch.

How does an infrared thermometer measure temperature?

Infrared thermometers work by focusing the infrared rays emitted by an object through a lens. These rays are directed into a detector or thermopile, where the absorbed IR radiation gets converted into heat and then electricity. Finally, the electricity is translated into a temperature reading on the display screen.

Three types of infrared thermometers

IR thermometers

These spot infrared thermometers are equipped with one or two laser surfaces, designed in a gun shape, and operate without contact. Quick temperature readings occur in less than a second. Due to their non-contact nature, they find applications in cooking, household use, and non-commercial industrial works.

IR or infrared scanners

Distinguished from IR thermometers by their ability to scan larger areas, infrared scanners use one or more spot lasers. They are often used for measuring moving objects’ temperatures by directing lasers to a rotating mirror, making them more suited for industrial purposes.

Infrared cameras

Infrared cameras, or thermal imaging cameras, use infrared wavelengths to create a two-dimensional image or thermogram, which reflects an object’s temperature. These cameras are best used for surveying large areas in one go.

What are the uses of infrared thermometers?

Infrared thermometers have diverse applications:

  • Food safety and cooking: Checking stove temperatures and food storage.
  • Industrial and manufacturing use: Quality assurance and equipment maintenance.
  • Health and medicine: Monitoring medicine and human/animal body temperatures.
  • Mechanics and automotive: Diagnosing overheating issues in vehicles.
  • Heating and cooling: Detecting insulation problems.
  • Electrical systems: Diagnosing equipment failures.
  • Residential use: Various home chores like cooking and home renovations.

What to look for when purchasing an infrared thermometer

Selecting an infrared thermometer requires considering various features and factors, such as:

  • Purpose: Tailor the model’s temperature range to your specific needs.
  • Price: Choose according to your intended use and required features.
  • Accuracy: Look for precision if the thermometer will be used for critical applications.
  • Emissivity: An adjustable emissivity setting provides compatibility with different surfaces.
  • Distance to spot (D:S) ratio: This ratio indicates how far you should be from the object to get an accurate reading.
  • Warranty: A longer warranty typically implies better reliability.
  • Additional features: Including lasers, backlight screens, optimal temperature adjustment, durability, hold and auto-off function, fast response time, and belt clips or carrying case for convenience.

Steps on how to use an infrared thermometer

  • Turn on the thermometer.
  • Set your preferred measurement unit (Celsius or Fahrenheit).
  • Familiarize yourself with the manual and terminologies.
  • Adjust the emissivity setting as needed.
  • Aim the thermometer at the object.
  • Pull the trigger to view the temperature on the screen.

Dos and don’ts when using an infrared thermometer

  • Do adjust emissivity for shiny or reflective objects.
  • Don’t measure through barriers like glass or smoke.
  • Remember moisture and other particles might affect readings.
  • Avoid using the device near strong radio frequency devices.
  • Note that it only measures surface temperature, not internal.

FAQs

What temperature range are infrared thermometers capable of measuring? 

Most can measure both extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Are infrared thermometers accurate? 

Generally, they fall within a +/-2% margin of error.

Can an infrared thermometer be used for cooking? 

Yes, for stovetops, grills, pans, and oil but not for internal food temperature.

What are some ways to calibrate an infrared thermometer?

 You can use a mixture of water and ice or an infrared comparator cup.

What does NIST certification mean?

National Institute of Standards and Technology certification indicates accuracy standards.

Do all types of infrared thermometers have the same function? 

No, they vary in accuracy and functionality depending on the type and intended use.

Conclusion

Infrared thermometers are versatile tools used across various industries. Understanding your specific needs and the features that align with them will guide your purchasing decision. From cooking at home to complex industrial applications, there’s an infrared thermometer suited to almost any temperature-measuring task. Always remember to follow the proper usage guidelines and consult the manual to get the best results from your device.

By avoiding pitfalls and understanding key features, you can select the perfect infrared thermometer to serve your needs, ensuring accurate and convenient.

FAQs

What temperature range are infrared thermometers capable of measuring?

The actual range of temperatures that Infrared thermometers can measure depends on the model. Generally, these can measure both extreme temperatures—above boiling point and below freezing point.

For instance, the Fluke 62 MAX Plus has an accuracy of +/- 1C and can measure -22F to 1202F or -30C to 650C.

Are infrared thermometers accurate?

The accuracy of an infrared thermometer depends on its model. Moreover, accuracy can be affected by the surface emissivity and the D:S ratio. Most IR accuracy falls with a +/-2 % margin of error.

Can an infrared thermometer be used for cooking?

The answer depends on what specific part of cooking you are going to use it for. If it is for measuring stovetops, grill, pan, and oil, the answer is yes.

If it is for measuring food temperature, it’s not because I cannot measure internal temperature. For better accuracy in measuring kitchen equipment’s temperature, put the object on a solid surface and pre-heat for 5-10 minutes.

After that, put a little amount of cooking oil to improve emissivity before getting the temperature.

What are some ways to calibrate an infrared thermometer?

There are several ways to check your infrared thermometer’s accuracy. One is by mixing water and crushed ice until the consistency is slurry.

Then measure it to see if your thermometer gives a zero-degree Celsius reading. The closer it is to zero degrees, the more accurate your thermometer is.

Another is using a device with a solid non-glossy matte base, and high emissivity called an infrared comparator cup. Compare the temperatures between your infrared thermometer and the calibrated reference thermometer with the aid of the cup.

What does NIST certified mean?

NIST stands for National Institute of Standards and Technology. Infrared thermometers with this certification mean that they passed the said agency’s standards in terms of accuracy.

To get this NIST certificate, the product has to be tested by a third-party official tester which means that the manufacturer who wants this certificate has to pay an extra fee for the testing.

NIST certified IRs are essential for research and hospital use. However, if it is just for residential use, there is no need to buy those expensive models with NIST certification.

Do all types of infrared thermometers have the same function?

Infrared thermometers have different functions; hence, they are not the same. Generally, these have a +/-3 percent accuracy, but the type of thermometer which suits you depends on your needs.

For instance, if you are using it primarily for cooking, construction, and checking human body temperature, a thermal IR thermometer gun is the best type for you.

Last update on 2024-02-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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