8 Best Infrared Thermometer Reviews in 2020

Infrared thermometer

An infrared thermometer is a useful instrument to measure surface temperatures quickly and accurately without ever having to touch the object.

As they are non-contact, they are ideal for performing quick spot checks of temperatures from a distance when the object’s heat is too high to get close, the target is out of reach, or when a conventional thermometer such as a probe thermometer cannot be used.

IR thermometer guns are handy in a wide variety of applications, such as diagnosing automotive problems, monitoring food to comply with safety standards, checking HVAC equipment and making sure a grill plate is the ideal temperature.

Whether you spend a lot of time fixing and maintaining machinery at work or you enjoy doing high precision cooking at home, a non-contact infrared thermometer can be valuable in so many situations.

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Best Infrared Thermometer Reviews

Take a look at our list of infrared temperature gun reviews to help you choose the most suitable model for your budget and desired application.

1. Fluke 62 MAX Plus IR Thermometer: Best Overall

When dealing with any mechanical, automotive, electrical or HVAC repairs and maintenance, this infrared thermometer is perfect for the job. It is small, easy to use and precise which means you can get around compact or tight spaces to measure the temperature of motors, pumps, panels, breakers, transformers, compressors, steam lines, valves, ducts, and vents.

This is a reliable and durable unit that has been 3-meter drop tested, so it’s robust enough for any workspace. Plus, it has been IP54 rated to certify it is both dust and water resistant. This model can also be clipped to a tool belt or a storage area using a carabiner.

The Fluke 62 MAX Plus boasts dual lasers to ensure precision in your measurements by helping you identify the edges of the measurement area. After taking its reading, the infrared thermometer displays the highest and lowest reading, the difference between them and the average temperature on a large backlit LCD screen. The large display makes the data easy to read, even in dark areas.

This model is emissivity adjustable, and it has a 12:1 distance to spot (D:S) ratio. The temperature measurement range is -22°F to 1202°F (-30°C to 650°C) and is accurate to within ± 1% in the 0°C to 650°C range.

For users who require an industrial-grade model for professional use in the workplace or even for those who want a durable and accurate non-contact infrared thermometer at home, the Fluke 62 MAX Plus is our top recommendation.

Key Features

  • Dual lasers ensure the accuracy of measurements
  • Accurate up to ± 1% with a distance to spot ratio of 12:1
  • Emissivity adjustable
  • Robust, with IP54 dust and water resistance rating and 3-meter drop tested
  • The large backlit LCD screen makes data easy to read
  • Ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand
  • Powered by just one AA battery

Click here to check the price of our #1 recommendation: the Fluke 62 MAX Plus on Amazon


2. Easy@Home JXB-178 No-Touch Forehead Thermometer: Best Medical Infrared Thermometer

The Easy@Home JXB-178 infrared forehead thermometer is a clinically accurate, medical-grade thermometer designed to take the temperature of adults and children safely and quickly using no-touch infrared technology.

The JXB-178 is easy-to-use, just power on the device, point it at the forehead 1.2-2 inches (3-5cm) away, then pull the trigger to take a measurement. In 1 second, the temperature will be displayed on the backlit screen. The device also has an audible fever alarm and a tri-color backlight. The screen will turn green when it senses a normal temperature, orange for a low fever, and red for a high fever.

As the JXB-178 is non-contact and takes readings in just 1 second, it’s perfect for temperature screening where safety and hygiene are paramount. For example, the JXB-178 can be useful at offices, businesses, schools, warehouses, physical examination centers, and of course, at home.

You can depend on the JXB-178 and feel comfortable using it as the thermometer is an FDA-cleared Class II medical device sold by Easy Healthcare Corporation, an American company based in Illinois, who has more than 18 years of fertility and drug test experience.

It has an operating range of 89.6°F to 109.4°F (32°C to 43°C) in forehead mode and is accurate to ± 0.6°F (± 0.3°C). The device also has a surface mode to measure the surface temperature of objects and a room temperature mode. The last 32 readings are saved for easy recall, you can switch between °C and °F, and there’s a mute setting, so you won’t disturb a sleeping child when checking their temperature.

We rate the JXB-178 as the best medical infrared thermometer overall because it’s FDA-cleared, it provides accurate 1-second readings, and it’s straightforward to use.

Key Features

  • No-touch 1-second forehead temperature readings
  • Professional Class II medical device, FDA-Cleared
  • Accurate to ± 0.6°F (± 0.3°C)
  • Tri-color backlit LED screen with fever alarm to read temperatures easily
  • Stores the last 32 readings
  • Automatically turns off after 30 seconds

3. Etekcity 1022D Dual Laser Digital Infrared Thermometer: Best Value for Money

The Etekcity 1022D is the best value for money infrared thermometer because while it has many of the same features as its competitors (in some cases it has more), it comes at a much lower price point.

This infrared thermometer has a wide measurement range for lower temperatures making it ideal for use in freezers or cold spaces. Its accuracy is within ± 2% with a measurement range of -58°F to 1022°F (-50°C to 550°C). The Etekcity 1022D employs dual Class 2 lasers to help you take precise measurements. The ideal distance for the lasers to get the most reliable reading is 14.17 inches (36 centimeters) from the surface or object you are measuring—this allows the two lasers to overlap and achieve the best results. And the results are fast—the IR thermometer gun will display readings in less than 0.5 seconds.

The Etekcity 1022D features adjustable emissivity to allow for different surface types. A backlit LCD display on the Etekcity 1022D digital infrared thermometer means you can take it with you into dark spaces without the need to carry a torch. The thermometer gun also has an automatic data hold function which allows you time to record your numbers after you have taken your measurement. The Etekcity 1022D infrared thermometer helps to save your battery life with its Auto-Off function and a low battery indicator.

Key Features

  • 12:1 distance to spot ratio with ± 2% accuracy
  • Adjustable emissivity and dual lasers for greater accuracy
  • A backlit LCD screen for use in low light areas
  • Automatic data hold function to retain results after measurement
  • Auto-Off function and low battery indicator to preserve battery life. Battery included
  • 1-year warranty with an option to extend for 1 extra year free

4. Taylor Precision Products Dual Infrared/Thermocouple Thermometer: Best Infrared Thermometer For Cooking

The Taylor Precision Products Dual Thermometer is the best thermometer for cooking because it comes with both an IR thermometer device as well as an internal probe. IR thermometers on their own can only measure surface temperatures, not internal temperatures.

The best way to measure temperatures while cooking is to use the infrared thermometer (for reading the frying pan or barbecue surface) in conjunction with the included probe for the internal temperature of the food.

Because of this dual capacity, the Taylor Precision Products Thermocouple is versatile enough to be helpful for precision baking, grilling, roasting or even sous vide. The infrared thermometer has a temperature range of -67°F to 482°F while the probe can measure up to 626°F. The IR thermometer also has adjustable emissivity which can be important when measuring surfaces covered in oil, for example.

This model comes with an auto shut off feature to help preserve battery life and operates on two AAA batteries (also included). It is splash-proof (an essential feature for around the kitchen) and quite compact in size (5.1 x 9.1 x 2 inches and weighs 4.8 ounces) which means it can fit inside the pocket of a chef’s pants or an apron comfortably.

Key Features

  • Dual action IR thermometer and probe to measure both surface and internal food temperatures
  • Adjustable emissivity
  • The probe has a high-temperature reading capacity with the ability to measure up to 626°F
  • Auto shut off feature to preserve battery life
  • Two AAA batteries included

5. Etekcity Lasergrip 774 Non-Contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer: Best Budget Option

As the entry-level product in the Etekcity range, the Lasergrip 774 is the best cheap infrared thermometer. It is a Class 2 laser temperature gun that can measure temperatures of between -58°F to 716°F (-50°C to 380°C) from a significant distance away (14.1 inches or 36 centimeters is the ideal distance between the laser temperature gun and object for best accuracy).

Once you point and shoot the infrared temperature gun, the measurement comes up in less than 500 milliseconds and holds the reading on the display screen for 15 seconds. The display screen is also backlit, for ease of use when there is low light.

The Etekcity’s Lasergrip 774 has a fixed emissivity setting which limits the accuracy of the device on reflective surfaces. If precision is important to you, take a look at our top recommendation—the Fluke 62 MAX Plus IR Thermometer.

The 9-volt lithium ion battery is included, and a couple of features have been built into the infrared thermometer to extend and monitor battery life including an Auto-Off function and a low battery indicator. Coated in UV paint, this model also boasts a robust external casing.

Key Features

  • 12:1 distance to spot ratio
  • -58°F to 716°F temperature range
  • A backlit display screen for use in low light areas
  • 15-second data hold function
  • Auto-Off function and low battery indicator to preserve battery life. Battery included
  • 1-year warranty with an option to extend for 1 extra year free

6. FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Camera: Best Visual Infrared Thermometer

Rather than just showing you the temperature in one particular area, the FLIR TG165 spot thermal camera will show you the hot spots versus cool spots across the entirety of any surface with an easy-to-read color-coded visual display.

Visual infrared thermometers are useful for scanning areas to identify hot or cold spots immediately—such as sourcing a hotspot on an electrical breaker panel or identifying equipment issues in HVAC appliances and systems.

The spot thermal camera has a temperature measuring range of -13°F to 716°F (-25°C to 380°C). The actual camera itself has FLIR's Innovative Lepton IR Imaging Engine with 80x60 resolution, 150mK sensitivity, and a 9hz refresh rate.

You can save the data and images from the spot thermal camera on a USB or SD card and then transfer these to your computer for further analysis or send them on to other people. An 8-gigabyte micro SD card and a USB cable is included with the product.

The device has been drop tested to 2 meters making it durable and long lasting. It is also compact, easily transportable and intuitive to use—there is no training necessary to operate the instrument.

Key Features

  • 24:1 distance to spot ratio
  • Temperature range of -13°F to 716°F
  • FLIR's Innovative Lepton IR Imaging Engine with 80x60 resolution, 150mK sensitivity, and a 9hz refresh rate
  • Save images and data to SD card or USB. 8 gigabyte micro SD card and USB cable included
  • 2-meter drop tested
  • 10-year warranty for the infrared detector and 2-year warranty for parts and labor

7. Etekcity Lasergrip 1025D Temperature Gun with Non-Contact Voltage Tester

What makes the 1025D laser temperature gun different from some of the other infrared thermometers on the market is that it features voltage detection to protect you when working with electrical systems.

This inbuilt safety mechanism allows you to use the non-contact voltage (NCV) mode to safely test whether there is a live AC voltage before you even touch anything. While no specific readings on voltage levels will appear, lines on the display screen will show you the approximate voltage level (high versus low). Following the sound of the steady beeping, you can move the infrared temperature gun to locate the source of the maximum voltage.

The backlit LCD screen will show you temperature readings from the dual lasers that can measure between a range of -58°F to 1022°F (-50°C to 550°C). This laser thermometer is emissivity adjustable so you can be more accurate with your measurements, no matter what surface type you are working with.

This model operates on a 9-volt battery (included) and will save you money with its Auto-Off functionality and low battery indicator.

Key Features

  • Non-Contact Voltage (NCV) mode to detect live electrical currents
  • 12:1 distance to spot ratio
  • Emissivity adjustable
  • Automatic data hold function
  • Auto-Off function and low battery indicator to preserve battery life. Battery included
  • 1-year warranty with an option to extend for 1 extra year free

Factors to Consider When Buying an Infrared Thermometer

Reading reviews of laser thermometers can seem very technical and complicated. It can be hard to figure out what you should be considering before you decide on the best IR thermometer for you. Here are some factors to take into account.

Infrared thermometer being used in a home

Temperature Range

Think about how great a temperature range you need for your non-contact infrared thermometer. For instance, if you plan to use your laser thermometer purely around the home for measuring surface temperatures of your grill or your air conditioning unit, you may not need a wide temperature range.

However, if you plan to use your infrared laser thermometer when working with machinery, motorized engines or in an industrial setting, then a higher temperature range may be more relevant.

Accuracy

Precision in measurement is vital in an infrared thermometer, especially when you are working with expensive machinery or in a commercial kitchen where accuracy is paramount. For example, when using a digital infrared thermometer in food safety applications, you need a specific and accurate reading every time. Check the specs on your model as the more precise it is, the better your results will be.

Emissivity

Emissivity is the capacity of a surface to emit thermal radiation. Infrared thermometers with a fixed emissivity setting of 0.95 are set to take readings of high emissivity surfaces, which means that the surface will efficiently radiate the temperature of an object. This is fine if you’re taking readings of dark matte surfaces such as asphalt, walls or tiles. Fixed emissivity settings will cause issues when measuring reflective surfaces with low emissivity ratings, for example, measuring polished metal will give false readings when the emissivity settings are not adjusted. An IR thermometer gun that features adjustable emissivity settings (between 0.10 and 1.00) will be more accurate as you can calibrate the thermometer for each surface you are measuring.

Distance To Spot Ratio

The distance to spot (D:S) ratio refers to the measurable surface area the infrared laser thermometer will read compared to the distance from which it takes that reading. For example, an IR thermometer with a 12:1 D:S ratio, will measure an approximately 1-inch diameter area when it is 12-inches away.

The further away you are from the target the larger the measurable surface area becomes, thus impacting the accuracy of the readings if you need to measure a small space. For instance, if you want to measure a 2-inch area from 1 meter away with a model that has a 12:1 D:S ratio, you will not get accurate results as the thermometer will also be measuring the temperature outside of the predetermined area you are trying to measure. Essentially, the D:S ratio lets you know what the ideal distance is to obtain an accurate reading.

Your Budget

Think about how frequently and for what purpose you are using your infrared laser thermometer. The best laser thermometer for your needs may not be the most expensive. Consider which features will really provide you added value before you make your purchasing decision.

What Are Infrared Thermometers Used For?

Infrared thermometers can be used to measure surface temperatures of objects in industries and applications such as:

  • Automotive—Mechanics and automotive enthusiasts can use a digital infrared thermometer to troubleshoot overheating issues and perform routine spot checks on many components, including, brakes, tires, radiators, and engine timing.
  • HVAC—Heating and cooling professionals use infrared thermometers to perform equipment checks and to diagnose, duct leaks, insulation issues, malfunctioning coils, and other heat-related HVAC problems.
  • Electrical systems and circuit boards—IR thermometers can be used when working with electrical systems by checking for hot spots, diagnosing potential problems and preventing equipment failure.
  • Cooking—An infrared thermometer gun allows you to verify that your grill or stovetop is the correct temperature before you put that precious short rib on top.
  • Food safety—Chefs and food service managers in commercial kitchens use infrared thermometers for continuous monitoring of food to ensure temperatures are compliant with food safety standards.
  • Manufacturing—In industrial and manufacturing applications, infrared thermometers are used to monitor products for quality assurance and perform routine temperature audits of equipment to schedule repairs and prevent expensive equipment breakdowns.
  • Medical—For measuring the body temperature of humans and animals.
  • Home use—There are many uses for an IR temperature gun around the home, such as checking for poor insulation and heating and cooling problems, working on vehicles, cooking on the grill, crafting beer, making soap and with many other hobbies or home improvement jobs.

How to Use an Infrared Thermometer

Turn on your infrared thermometer gun. Select whether you prefer your measurement to be recorded in Fahrenheit or Celsius.

Read the instruction manual to ensure you are familiar with the D:S ratio of your device. This will provide better accuracy when taking measurements. As a general rule of thumb, the closer you are to a surface, the more precise the measurement. However, bear in mind that it may not be safe to get too close to extremely hot objects.

If your IR thermometer gun is emissivity adjustable, go ahead and change the emissivity to the optimal setting for the surface you are trying to measure.

With the guidance of the laser, point your IR thermometer at the object you want to measure and pull the trigger to view the temperature on the display. Try to opt for a spot on your surface that is not too close to other objects of vastly differing temperatures.

Do not use your infrared thermometer to measure items with highly reflective or shiny surfaces without adjusting for the emissivity. Do not try to use your IR thermometer to measure objects behind smoke or glass as the thermometer will measure the temperature of the smoke or glass instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Is an Infrared Thermometer?

A: Infrared thermometers are temperature sensing instruments that are used to make non-contact measurements of surface temperatures. They work by inferring temperatures based on the thermal radiation that is emitted by a particular object. By knowing the object’s emissivity and the amount of infrared energy being emitted, the object’s apparent temperature can then be gauged.

As they are non-contact, they employ the use of a laser to help users aim the thermometer, this is why they are sometimes called laser thermometers. They are commonly used in industrial applications that require quick and accurate temperature readings from a distance when the surface is out of reach, the object’s temperature is too extreme to get near, or when a probe cannot be inserted into the item being measured.

Q: How Does an Infrared Thermometer Work?

A: An infrared thermometer works by using a lens to focus on the light coming from an object in the form of infrared rays and funneling it onto a detector, called a thermopile. The thermopile inside the IR thermometer absorbs the IR radiation and turns it into heat which then gets converted into electricity. The amount of electricity is measured and then displayed on the screen of the thermometer. Click here to learn more about

Q: What Temperatures Do Infrared Thermometers Measure?

A: IR thermometers can measure a range of temperatures from below freezing to extremely high temperatures. The range of temperature measurements available depends on each specific product. For example, our top recommendation, the Fluke 62 MAX Plus, has a measurement range of -22°F to 1202°F (-30°C to 650°C) with an accuracy of ± 1°C or ± 1.0% of the reading from 0°C to 650°C. Typically the more expensive infrared laser thermometers have larger measurement ranges and greater distance to spot ratios.

Q: How Accurate Are Infrared Thermometers?

A: Infrared thermometers are an accurate and convenient instrument to make quick measurements of surface temperatures. The accuracy specification of an IR thermometer depends on each individual model. Most infrared thermometers will have a measurement error of ± 2.0%. There are also two other factors to consider that will dictate the accuracy of an IR thermometer’s readings. These are the D:S ratio of the IR thermometer and the emissivity of the target.

Q: Can You Use an Infrared Thermometer for Cooking?

A: IR thermometers only measure surface temperature, so they cannot accurately gauge the internal temperature of the food you’re cooking. However, an infrared thermometer gun is beneficial for measuring the surface temperature of hot oil, a cast-iron skillet, a pan, or your barbecue grill. Just remember when taking the temperature of a grill, the thermometer will factor in the temperatures of the surfaces that are visible through the grate. To obtain an accurate reading, try placing a solid surface such as a cast iron plate or skillet on the grill and let it preheat for 5-10 minutes, then spray the surface with a little bit of cooking oil for proper emissivity and proceed to take the temp.

Q: How Do You Calibrate an Infrared Thermometer?

A: Regularly checking the accuracy of any measuring instrument is vital to ensure your device is in good working order.

An easy way to calibrate an infrared thermometer is to make a crushed ice and water mix in a bath. You want this to be a slurry consistency to ensure that you’re measuring a uniform temperature that is as close to 0°C as possible. Then measure the ice and water mix to check your infrared thermometer’s accuracy.

Another solution is to use an infrared comparator cup. A comparator cup provides a solid matte black base with a high emissivity rating for accurate readings. You can use the cup to compare the measurements from the infrared thermometer with a reference thermometer that has been calibrated.

Conclusion

IR thermometer diagnosing a vehicle

A digital infrared thermometer is a useful tool in any workshop, factory floor, commercial kitchen or household because it can help you measure surface temperatures quickly, accurately and safely from a distance.

For professional use, the Fluke 62 MAX Plus is one of the best infrared thermometers because it is an accurate and robust all-rounder with a broad measuring range, a 12:1 D:S ratio, adjustable emissivity settings, and dual lasers to help you pinpoint the edges of the measurement area. Built to withstand a 3-meter drop and with an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance, you can rely on this model to provide accurate measurements on even the toughest and dirtiest job sites.

If you’re looking for a more affordable model for use around the home or for working on your own personal vehicle, we recommend the Etekcity 1022D Dual Laser Digital Infrared Thermometer as the best value for money option.

Published: April 9, 2019

One Response

  1. guy lombardo October 2, 2019

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