FLIR for Home Inspection: FLIR One vs TG165, or E4/E8? (2021 Update) (2022)

FLIR for Home Inspection: FLIR One vs TG165, or E4/E8? (2021 Update) (1)With each era of history is known by some kind of innovations and scientific discoveries, the 19th century is famous for the uncovering of invisible light waves like gamma rays, radio waves, and so on.

When knowledge is combined with hard work, inventions come into being which is exactly how FLIR thermal imaging became part of many daily lives, from military and law enforcement to casual use by consumers.

While FLIR is the key to an invisible world that we can’t see through naked eyes –

Which is the best FLIR for home inspection: FLIR One / Pro, TG165, E4/E8, or… ?

FLIR Thermal Imager for Home / Building Inspection

Deciding on one good value FLIR thermal camera for home inspection can be quite a daunting task, especially when this biggest name in the market of infrared imaging has been manufacturing thermal imaging solutions since 1978 that cover huge variety of applications.

In case you are in a rush, here are the recommendations:

FLIR E4

Thermal Camera

Best Affordable

Professional Thermal Camera

For Professionals

FLIR TG165

Spot Thermal Imager

Best Budget Handheld Thermal

Imager for Home Inspection

Budget Handheld

(Video) FLIR E4 Features with FW Updates

FLIR ONE

Thermal Camera

Budget Thermal Cam

for iOS / Android Devices

For iOS / Android


Let’s jump right in to review through each of these FLIR thermal imagers.

#1: FLIR-ONE / FLIR-ONE-PRO for Android and iOS

FLIR ONE is a thermal imager that allows you to peak into the invisible world of infrared rays using your smart phone and tablet.

You just need to plug this camera device onto the Micro USB port of Android device or the lighting port of iOS device to start observe the heat signals around you.

Check out user reviews of Flir One >> here.

Flir One comes with two built in cameras – Thermal Imager and Visual Light Imager. The thermal imager uses the infrared ways of long wavelengths to capture the heat signals around you, while the visual light camera works simultaneously with the thermal imager and provides you with an overlay. The overlay allows you identify the object in the picture.

Flir has been in the thermal business since 1978 thus the company’s engineers have designed both a credible hardware and software. The hardware is nothing without the software which is why the Flir has designed compatible apps for both android and IOS separately to provide you with solid experience.

The application is user friendly and offers a wide range of color palettes that you can use to uncover some tricks. The colors are assigned according to the number of heath signals detected from the source object.

The default palette of the Flir One thermal imager ranges from dark blue to bright yellow or white. The hottest objects are colored yellow while the coolest ones are colored blue.

Watch the following video from certified home inspector Tom Munro, and see how does FLIR ONE work for home inspection.

The FLIR ONE device itself is very sleek and fancy, despite it is one of the cheapest thermal imaging camera available on the market. The company manufactures two models, one for IOS devices and the other for Android devices.

Both the models are the same except that the IOS model can rotate in all directions while the Android model is fixed in the direction of the USB port. Other than a on and off switch with a LED light there is nothing on the device.

It comes with a lanyard hung carrying clip that allows you capture the heath signals in the wilderness. The device has its own rechargeable battery that last for only an hour.

Since the successful launch of Flir One Compact Thermal Imager, the company has since then introduced the Flir One PRO with 2 key enhanced features and specifications:

  • Thermal Resolution: The 160×120 pixels resolution of Flir One PRO doubles the standard Flir One at 80×60. The larger resolution of Flir One PRO provides higher clarity thermal images.
  • Scene Temperature Range: Flir One PRO can operate at a thermal range upto 400°C, which is much higher than the maximum temperature of 120°C for standard Flir One.

Check out the Flir One PRO video review below, and hear out what the users say about it.

The Flir One thermal camera can be used for various purposes. It depends entirely on your needs. Some individuals just use it for the fun purpose while others use it for something beneficial. You can capture both still and moving images with the help of the unit.

Some of the uses of the thermal imager include: Viewing people hiding in the bushes, figure out broken wires in the wiring system, trace footsteps, and so on.

Of course, Flir One PRO can be used for home inspection too, as demostrated by licensed contractor Jason Cameron in this video.



#2: FLIR TG165 Spot Thermal Imager

With Flir One/Pro and FLIR TG165 are budget thermal imagers available for below $500 —

Let’s start by doing a side-to-side comparison on the key specifications of FLIR One/PRO vs FLIR TG165, which is a popular handheld spot thermal imager designed for general use.

FLIR ONE

Thermal Camera

(Video) FLIR i7, E4 and E8 side by side (Thermal camera test, watch in HD)

80x60 Thermal Sensor

MSX Technology

-20°C to 120°C (-4 to 248°F)

±3°C / ±5% Thermal Accuracy

1 Hour Battery Life

Mount to iOS/Android Device

FLIR ONE Pro

Thermal Camera

160x120 Thermal Sensor

MSX Technology

-20°C to 400°C (-4 to 752°F)

±3°C / ±5% Thermal Accuracy

1 Hour Battery Life

Mount to iOS/Android Device

FLIR TG165

Spot Thermal Imager

80x60 Thermal Sensor

No MSX Technology

–25 to +380°C (–13 to +716°F)

±1.5°C / ±1.5% Accuracy

>5 Hours Battery Life

Standalone Handheld

As shown:

  • FLIR ONE Pro actually has better thermal sensor resolution at 160 x 120 pixels, compared to 80 x 60 pixels of TG165 and FLIR ONE.
  • FLIR ONE Pro and FLIR ONE are equipped with FLIR’s MSX Technology that embosses digital camera detail onto thermal video and stills — a feature that is not included in TG165.
  • TG165, on the other hand, has better thermal accuracy of ±1.5°C or 1.5%, in comparison with the ±3°C or 5% of Flir One/Pro.
  • TG165 also has better battery operating time of over 5 hours with continuous lasers scanning, vs the battery life of Flir One/Pro at about 1 hour.

The following video video shows a quick comparison of FLIR TG165 vs FLIR One PRO.

(Video) Flir E4 Thermal imaging camera follow-up

So should you consider TG165 thermal imager for home inspection?

Yes, especially if you

  • currently do not own any iOS / Android device (for Flir One/Pro to be mounted).
  • prefer to use thermal imager as a separate application without combine it with your Android / iOS smartphone or tablet.
  • prefer a ruggedized handheld thermal imager for better durability.
  • prefer a thermal imager with built in thermometer-like feature.
  • do not want to spend over $400 for a more high end thermal imaging camera.
  • intend to have moderate to frequent usage for over 1 hour (the battery life of Flir One) per session, as TG165 with over 5 hours operating battery life should serve you better.

Indeed, many users gave excellent reviews on TG165 for home inspection purpose.

You can see what the users say >> here for you to make an educated decision.


The Flir TG165 Spot thermal imager is the first ever imaging IR thermometer. The other thermal cameras manufactured by the company focus mainly on the thermal imaging and not the thermal thermometer which is why the TG165 has made its name.

This unit is both a thermal imaging tool and a temperature measurement tool. The device captures the infrared rays emitted from the object that it is focused on and then gives you a non-contact temperature reading. The amount of the rays emitted from the object depends upon the temperature of the object, meaning how hot or cold the object is.

If you like technical stuff, the brief video below gives a clear overview of TG165 hardware design, and how does it compare to the FLIR ONE and a traditional spot thermometer.

The thermal imager in the unit gives you the thermal properties of the objects captured by the lens whereas the thermometer gives the temperature of the objects.

For example, if you point the TG165 at an electrical panel, the thermal imager will tell you where the hot spots are, whereas the thermometer will indicate the temperature measurement reading of the hot spots and how much they are hotter than the other points on the panel. An electrician can then take off the panel for inspection to figure out why it’s so hot.


Comes with the new Lepton micro thermal sensor that provides an 80 x 60 pixels resolution, the TG165 manifested by FLIR has many built-in features along with variations in the overall design and specs.

The features mainly focus on making the device more of an imaging IR thermometer than a thermal camera, meaning that the unit is an advanced version of an imaging IR thermometer.

As a durable thermal imager that can withstand a 2-meter drop, TG165 has 2.0″ LCD display with a wide 50° Field of View. It is handy, intuitive to operate, and it can detect hot spots for electrical, HVAC and mechanical upkeep with temperature measurement range from -13 degrees F to 716 degrees F.

The images and data can easily be saved into the 8GB micro SD card that comes together with TG165 thermal imager, and the images/data can be downloaded fast over USB from the removable micro SD or with the included USB cable.

The following video gives a great overview and demo of this FLIR TG165 thermal imager.

In short, the FLIR TG165 is a more powerful IR thermometer than a simple IR thermometer.

The device comes with only two color palettes which is a drawback, but most users usually focus on the point where it is very user friendly as no training is required in order to access the device. With a comfortable grip and the water resistant feature, this thermal imaging device is perfect for both indoor and outdoor uses.

You can check out the latest price of FLIR TG165 thermal imager >> here.


#3: FLIR E4: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera with Wi-Fi

If you want to go for a full-blown thermal imaging camera for house / building inspection but would like to keep the cost below $1000 –

then this entry model of the FLIR E-Series thermal cameras is definitely a top choice, because E4 is simply the FLIR’s most affordable professional thermal imaging camera.

While it has the marks of acceptance with its compliance and certifications of UL, CSA, CE, PSE and CCC — it is also meeting various environmental/EMC standards including RoHs, WEEE, C-Tick, IP-54, and much more.


The video below shows the different specifications of FLIR Ex-series thermal cam, starting from the lowest configuration of E4 — up to E6 then E8.

If you have the budget, you can consider E8 as the most powerful among the FLIR E-Series devices, because it has the highest resolution and thermal sensitivity.

However, the price of FLIR E8 thermal camera is nearly tripled of E4.

FLIR E4 works by monitoring the heat signals emitted from the objects that they are focused at. The device comes with a built in electron absorber that measures the amount of IR rays emitted by the object.

It can capture infrared, visual and MSX images. The FLIR Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX) system built in the device measures numbers, characters, texture and all the other relevant data relating the object and helps you compare various thermal and digital images to detect the issue.


The FLIR E4 thermal imaging camera can be used for various purposes. With the help of the advancing thermal technology, you can solve thermal related issues before they get worse.

For example, you can use this device to observe the thermal problems in your water pipes and electric panels. The E4 features also makes it capable for identifying energy loss, intrusion by moisture, overheating and structural issues.

Check out the video below and see how did a home inspector used FLIR E4 to do a thorough inspection on a new house, and explained the problem areas of missing insulation and low energy efficiency in this new property.

This thermal imaging camera with 3-inch colour LCD screen gives you an quality image display by using various color palettes. The colors differ from hot to cold, with the hottest spot is yellow while the coldest spot in the image is display in blue.

The device is very easy to handle. No training is required prior to the use.

Just turn the device on and point it at various devices to measure the intensity of heat signals emitted from them. The camera allows you capture images with a single click. The images can be viewed on the camera later or can be sent to the PC to edit them with FLIR software.

Watch the following video and see how did Les Wilhelm perform DIY home energy audit with FLIR E4 thermal camera, and found interesting things that were invisible to naked eyes.

Purchase of FLIR E-series thermal imaging camera has 2 years coverage on parts and labor, 5 years on the battery, and 10 years warranty on the detector as the most vital part of the entire thermal camera.

This thermal imaging camera comes with a wide range of accessories such as USB cable, transportation case, rechargeable battery and a charger.


So what are the key differences between FLIR E8 / E4 vs TG165?

While the FLIR E4 thermal imaging camera with Wi-Fi connectivity and “Picture-in-picture” features for enhanced documentation are particularly useful for professional house / real-estate / building inspectors –

FLIR E-series are equipped with MSX Technology feature that is not included in TG165, while the E-series have a larger 3-inch LCD screen.

TG165 has slight advantage on its thermal accuracy and battery life, as shown below.

Depending on your usage and budget, these 3 thermal imagers offer excellent value to meet your needs, including house inspection.

(Video) FLIR ONE for iOS Thermal Imaging Camera vs FLIR TG165 Spot IR Thermal Thermometer

FLIR E8

Thermal Camera

320x240 Thermal Sensor

MSX Technology
3 inch Screen Size

-15°C to 50°C (5 to 122°F)

±2°C / ±2% Thermal Accuracy

4 Hours Battery Life

With Wi-Fi Connectivity

FLIR E4

Thermal Camera

80x60 Thermal Sensor

MSX Technology
3 inch Screen Size

-15°C to 50°C (5 to 122°F)

±2°C / ±2% Thermal Accuracy

4 Hours Battery Life

With Wi-Fi Connectivity

FLIR TG165

Spot Thermal Imager

80x60 Thermal Sensor

No MSX Technology

2 inch Screen Size

–25 to +380°C (–13 to +716°F)

±1.5°C / ±1.5% Accuracy

(Video) Flir Ex-Series (E4 E5 E6 E8) Infrared Camera Overview with I&E Technologies

>5 Hours Battery Life

No Wi-Fi Connectivity



(Header image source: Original copy from Wikimedia)

FAQs

How accurate is FLIR one? ›

The standard FLIR product accuracy specification of ±2°C or 2% of the temperature reading at 30°C (86°F) ambient environment applies to all temperature ranges it measures and for the multiple applications for which it can be used.

What is the difference between FLIR and thermal? ›

FLIRs make pictures from heat, not visible light. Heat (also called infrared, or thermal, energy) and light are both parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, but a camera that can detect visible light won't see thermal energy, and vice versa.

Can FLIR one see through walls? ›

No, thermal cameras cannot see through walls, at least not like in the movies. Walls are generally thick enough—and insulated enough—to block any infrared radiation from the other side.

What is the difference between FLIR LT and PRO? ›

A: The FLIR ONE and FLIR ONE Pro LT can be used in temperatures from 32°F to 95°F (0°C to 35°C) and can detect temperatures from -4°F to 248°F (-20°C to 120°C). The FLIR ONE Pro operates at 32°F to 95°F (0°C to 35°C) and can detect temperatures from -4°F to 752°F (-20°C to 400°C).

Videos

1. FLIR E4 Thermal Imager Unboxing
(TEquipment)
2. 2 Best Flir Thermal Imaging Camera Review - Flir TG165 VS FLIR E4
(BCC)
3. FLIR E4 E5 E6 & E8: E BX Series Overview with Bob M.
(TEquipment)
4. Introducing the FLIR E4 Infrared Camera with MSX
(Teledyne FLIR)
5. Four Infrared Cameras Comparison
(International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI))
6. FLIR Wärmebildkamera Ex Serie - Funktion & Inhalt FLIR E8, FLIR E6, FLIR E5
(InfrarotTec Joti Tsolakidis)

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