My first home as a bachelor was a small studio apartment in Sydney. It had worked for me for a while, but then I got married and for family-building purposes had to move into a more spacey apartment. Of course, moving home is no easy deal and one of the primary things I learned was before moving into a new place you have to inspect it thoroughly for any irregularities.

Luckily, my best buddy is in the home inspection business and I got a detailed evaluation for free. He let me hang around while he did his job, and what got me interested was a device I’d never seen before: a thermal imaging, or also called infrared, camera.

By simply pointing his thermal imaging camera at the AC duct he could tell whether it was functioning properly. In about 15 minutes, he went all over my walls to inspect for any faulty pipes. Quick and easy, just like that, all thanks to this compact and user-friendly infrared camera – the FLIR TG165.

Flir-TG-165

After I saw it in action, I had to get one of my own, simply for pure precaution. This camera, while being many home inspectors’ favourite, is also very compact and incredibly easy for amateurs like me to use. Lightweight with a simple menu for navigation, the FLIR TG165 features a two inch screen that displays both the image and the temperature to the nearest tenth of a degree. You can save images up to 8 GB on the micro SD card and transfer them to a computer, tablet or other device.

FLIR has a price range around 500$ which makes it among the most affordable thermal imaging cameras on the market. Yup, the TG165 is light on the hands and the pocket too. But being affordable doesn’t mean it lacks the quality FLIR is known for. Quite the opposite, with the TG165 FLIR wants to lower the cost and increase the quality of entry level cameras. It’s built on FLIR’s exclusive Lepton micro thermal imaging camera core that’s smaller than a dime but captures every accurate and calibrated temperature information in every pixel of the image.

Infrared cameras usually chew up batteries like crazy, but the TG165 is a huge energy saver. This camera uses a lithium-ion battery that can go on for about eight hours continuous use before needing a charge. Perfect for contractors that have to inspect several buildings in a single day. Along with this, it’s also sturdy enough for inspectors at tough construction sites because it’s built to survive drops up to two metres.

Users already familiar with thermal imagery will find this camera has the most important features. For more precise temperature readings the FLIR TG165 uses dual diverging lasers which frame the area you want to measure the temperature of. And for better visibility, the crosshairs on the screen pinpoint the exact centre of the measurement area. This camera has a Distance to Spot Ratio (D:S) of 24:1. This means that when the it’s 24 inches away from the area being pointed at, it’s inspecting 1 inch of it. This is twice the D:S ratio of other cameras and it’s deliberately designed so to keep you away from potential burn danger.

Overall, the FLIR TG165 meets all IR thermal camera expectations. Lightweight and compact, precise and powerful, durable and affordable – everything an entry level thermal camera should be.