4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (2022)

Water leaks and moisture are things that you may not notice immediately but which will certainly lead to mold growth and some parts will suffer moisture damage in time

That is why we selected 4 devices to help you choose which thermal camera for water leaks and plumbing issues you can use to immediately detect where they are in your home and fix them.

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (1)
ProductTypeResolutionBattery capacityWaterproofLCD screenPrice

Flir TG165-X

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (2)

(Video) Best Thermal Leak Detection Kits Review 2021

Handheld80 x 605 hoursYes2.4″Click for more info

FLIR C5

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (3)

Handheld160 x 1204 hoursYes3.5″Click for more info

Seek Thermal Compact

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (4)

Smartphone206 x 156NoYes Click for more info

FLIR E5-XT

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (5)

Handheld160 x 1204 hoursYes3″ (320 x 240 pixels)Click for more info

Let’s have a look at each product in particular.

Flir TG165-X

ProductTypeResolutionBattery capacityWaterproofLCD screenPrice

Flir TG165-X

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (6)

Handheld80 x 605 hoursYes2.4″Click for more info

The Flir TG165-X is a popular thermal imaging camera used for water leak detection mainly because it provides a good balance between price, thermal imaging resolution and features.

It is equipped with an IR sensor with an 80 x 60 thermal resolution and a visible light camera which helps with MSX image enhancement. If you’re not familiar with that, it is basically a feature that overlays the thermal image and the visual image so that you get a much better perspective and are able to tell what you are measuring and looking at.

It can measure hot spots and heat patterns in a temperature range from -13°F to 572° Fahrenheit (-25°C to 300°C) with a +/-1.5° C temperature measurement accuracy. There are 4GB of storage and since it doesn’t capture the thermal images with thermal data embedded in them, you’ll most likely never have to delete any image. Not having thermal data inside the images is probably the TG165-X biggest weakness.

(Video) TOP 5: Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Home Inspection 2021

The battery life is great too, with 5 hours of continuous thermal imaging so you have plenty of time to inspect the water flow in the pipes and drains. And even if you drop it in water during a plumbing inspection, you don’t have to worry because this thermal camera is IP54 rated and is almost completely waterproof.

FLIR C5

ProductTypeResolutionBattery capacityWaterproofLCD screenPrice

FLIR C5

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (7)

Handheld160 x 1204 hoursYes3.5″Click for more info

The Flir C5 can be used as a thermal imaging camera for water leaks because of its high infrared resolution of 160 x 120 but also its wide 3.5″ LCD screen. It is the newest iteration of Flir’s pocket thermal camera line-up which includes the Flir C2 and the Flir C3.

The main advantage of this compact thermal imaging camera is that it is the first one which is equipped with cloud connectivity. After you’ve captured a thermal image, it gets automatically uploaded to the Cloud together with its radiometric thermal data. For each C5 that you buy, you get 1GB of cloud storage on the Flir Ignite platform. It also uses the Cloud connectivity for OTA updates.

This thermal imaging system can measure temperatures in a thermal scope from -4 to 752°F (-20 to 400°C), so you can detect even the coldest and warmest spots in your walls and water pipe system with a 0.05 thermal sensitivity and a +/-3° Celsius accuracy.

The C5 is a great all-purpose camera not just for water leaks and inspecting the plumbing system but also for electricians, HVAC inspectors, Roof inspectors and even body temperature screening.

Like all the other Flir cameras it comes with the 2-10 warranty, 2 for the entire camera and 10 for the thermal vision sensor.

Seek Thermal Compact

ProductTypeResolutionBattery capacityWaterproofLCD screenPrice

Seek Thermal Compact

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (8)

Smartphone206 x 156NoYes Click for more info
(Video) Top 5 Best Thermal Imaging Camera 2022 for Plumbers, Construction & Automotive

The Seek Thermal Compact imager is the low-cost option when you want a thermal imaging camera for water leaks but you don’t want to make a large investment. It is perfectly suited for home use to detect things like small leaks, condensation and for moisture detection.

It is a smartphone attachment that only contains the infrared thermal imaging sensor and nothing else. You plug it into your phone’s USB-C, micro USB or Lightning port and then download the Seek Thermal app to use it. It is going to use your smartphone’s battery but you can expect somewhere around 1-2 hours of infrared thermal imaging with an average phone that is fully charged.

The advantage is that you are paying around 200$ for a cheap thermal camera that provides a 206 x 156 thermal resolution, higher than you would get with handheld thermal cameras. The thermal images look great, they have full radiometric data but it doesn’t have the MSX feature that cameras from Flir Systems have like the Flir One Pro and Flir E5. You can overlap the image from the thermal sensor with the one from your phone’s camera but because they are so far apart, you have to work to realign them. This is where the Flir One Pro has the upper edge because it also has a fixed visual camera right next to the sensor.

FLIR E5-XT

ProductTypeResolutionBattery capacityWaterproofLCD screenPrice

FLIR E5-XT

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks (9)

Handheld160 x 1204 hoursYes3″ (320 x 240 pixels)Click for more info

The Flir E5-XT is the most expensive thermal imaging camera for water leaks and water damage prevention in our list. This is a device that is oriented towards professionals like plumbers who need to home inspections on a regular basis.

Its enclosure is IP54 rated so it is waterproof, it has a large 3″ LCD screen with a 320 x 240 resolution and a 4 hour battery life. Then there is the 160 x 120 resolution together with MSX enhancement from the high-resolution visual camera.

This thermal camera for moisture and leaks can measure a temperature between 4°F and 752°F (-20°C to 400°C) with a very high accuracy of +/-2°C (High accuracy actually means a lower value for the margin of error).

(Video) Best Budget Thermal Imaging Camera In 2022 ❤️ Best 5 Tested & Buying Guide

It offers a wide range of color palettes together with adjustable settings like emissivity, brightness and ambient temperature. The captured images hold thermal data which you can use to switch between color palettes later and also measure the temperature in any spot. You can transfer them to your laptop or phone via USB, Wi-fi and Bluetooth because this camera has all the three connectivity options. The main disadvantage of the E5 XT is that it doesn’t have an expandable internal storage, it can only hold about 500 thermal images on it.

The IR resolution may not seem much, but in reality the captured shots look extremely sharp. There is no doubt that this is one of the best cameras for leak detection, whether it be water leaks, air leaks or even detecting moisture.

Here’s a link to our in-depth review of the Flir E5-XT

Can a thermal camera find water leaks?

Yes, a thermal camera is able to detect water leaks from a pipe. When you point it at a hot water pipe, the water leak will show up as a warmer area than the rest of the pipe itself.

But water leaks are not the only thing that you can detect, because you can also spot moisture patterns. The main sources of moisture are leaks from pipes, water infiltration from the outside in the form of rain and snow and humidity during the cold season.

The camera itself cannot see what is inside the wall, but it can detect temperature differences in different parts of it and that is how you spot that there might be moisture building up. To get a better reading on these patterns, you can pair the infrared cameras with moisture meters that can measure the level of moisture more accurately.

Best thermal camera for water leaks

If you want a handheld device that can work in a professional environment, then the TG165-X will offer the best value for money. The C5 is even better, but comes at an extra cost.

If you just want to find hidden water in your house and you don’t want so spend much on thermal imaging cameras for leak detection, then the Seek Thermal Compact is the right device.

(Video) Using Flir i7 Thermal Camera to Help Locate Water Leak - The TV installers drilled thru 4” Cast Iron

But when you want to go pro with this, the Flir E5-XT or its siblings, the E6-XT and the Flir E8-XT are the right models to choose.

Our Score

FAQs

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks? ›

4 Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Leaks
ProductTypeResolution
Flir TG165-XHandheld80 x 60
FLIR C5Handheld160 x 120
Seek Thermal CompactSmartphone206 x 156
FLIR E5-XTHandheld160 x 120
Mar 7, 2021

Can a thermal imaging camera detect water leaks? ›

A thermal imaging camera cannot “see” moisture in walls, but it can detect subtle temperature differences and patterns that reveal the existence of water. Moisture is one of the most difficult issues to detect in a building - the signs are subtle and easy to miss until water starts dripping from the ceiling.

Can infrared detect water leaks? ›

As an added bonus, infrared scanning spots numerous things besides water damage that may require your attention. Infrared leak detection may be used to find: Water leaks and the damage they've caused.

Do thermal cameras work through water? ›

Water blocks a lot of infrared wavelengths, much as an opaque barrier blocks visible light wavelengths. In the same way that we can't see through paint, infrared sensors can't 'see' through any significant depth of water, because the waves it detects don't pass through water easily.

Which thermal scanner is best? ›

Best infrared thermometers in India
  • Helect Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer. ...
  • Dr Trust Forehead Digital Infrared Thermometer. ...
  • Vandelay Infrared Thermometer. ...
  • Omron MC 720 Non Contact Digital Infrared Forehead Thermometer. ...
  • TCL Non-Touch 3-in-1 Digital Infrared Forehead Thermometer.
Aug 26, 2021

What is a moisture camera? ›

It allows the user to trace the moisture intrusion through other affected areas. It provides visual documentation of moisture intrusion. It identifies moisture without the need for direct contact in potentially unsanitary areas, such as behind toilets.

How do you use a thermal leak detector? ›

Thermal Leak Detector Instructional Video - YouTube

How can you tell if a wall has water damage? ›

What are the Signs of Water Damage in Your Home?
  1. Stains on the Walls and Ceilings. ...
  2. Flaking or Peeling Paint. ...
  3. Soft or Swollen Drywall. ...
  4. Warped Walls. ...
  5. A Strange or Musty Smell in the House. ...
  6. Mold on Your Baseboards and Walls.
Jul 4, 2020

How do you find a leak in a thermal camera? ›

A Thermal Camera is a special device for detecting leaks in concealed pipes that are inside the wall or under the tiles. The camera is able to detect the temperature differences in the wall and using a thermographic image it will detect where the leak is from.

How do I know if there is water in my walls? ›

But there are usually some subtle signs to help you identify these types of leaks, including:
  1. Mold or mildew. ...
  2. Peeling paint or wallpaper on your walls.
  3. A wall that is warped or stained for no apparent reason.
  4. A buckled, cracked or water-stained floor or ceiling, especially in your bathroom.
  5. A musty smell.

How do you detect water intrusion? ›

If the water meter test indicates a leak inside your home, check the cabinets under the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom sinks to make sure they're dry. You'll also want to look for puddles around the bases of tubs, toilets, and showers and beneath the water heater, dishwasher, and clothes washer.

Videos

1. Can a FLIR C5 Infrared Camera Find Water Damage?
(Thermal Warrior)
2. How Check Your Home For Leaks Using an Infrared Camera
(Mark Scheller)
3. ✅ Top 4 Best Budget Thermal Imaging Cameras [ 2022 Review ] On Aliexpress
(Mix Zone)
4. Best Thermal Leak Detector | Top 10 Thermal Leak Detector for 2020-21 | Top Rated
(RZ Sports & Outdoors)
5. FLIR One Gen 3 Thermal Imaging Camera Review
(Doresoom Tool Reviews)
6. Every good maintenance plumber needs a Thermal Imaging Camera!
(The Jetters Edge)

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