Make heat loss a thing of the past with a powerful leak detection kit. We compare the top models before finding out which is the best of all.
In these days of reducing our carbon footprint, finding ways to eliminate heat loss inside your home is paramount. Thermal leaks can occur anywhere in your property and identifying where they are is key to resolving the problem. Not only will you benefit from a warmer and more comfortable home environment but you’ll also see great reductions in your energy bills.
It isn’t easy to identify where heat is being lost from your home. While you could always walk about trying to find cold spots, you could instead adopt a more efficient approach. A thermal leak detection kit will help you to quickly pinpoint spots in your home where warm air is escaping so you can carry out rectifications quickly.
Whether you’ve never heard of a thermal imaging leak detection system but are keen to find a better way to improve your property’s energy efficiency, or whether you’re desperate to find the best value solution, you can rely on our reviews to help you find the perfect product to suit your needs.
We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. These five product reviews represent the best leak detector kits on the market today.
The Top Models Compared
Take a look at how the top thermal leak detection kits compare in the table below.
OUR TOP PICK
Black + Decker TLD100
- Easy to use
- Intuitive interface
- Amazing value for money
Seek Thermal Compact Imager
- Compatible with iOS
- Adjustable focus
- Intuitive app
Seek Thermal Reveal
- Rechargeable battery
- Powerful LED light
- Built for professionals
- Incredible detail
- Huge 45 degree field of view
- Auto power off
- Built for professionals
- Amazing detail
- Send reports on location
- Rechargeable battery
The Top Models Reviewed
Read about them in more detail and find out which we’d choose over all others.
1. BLACK + DECKER TLD100 *OUR TOP PICK*
There can hardly be a homeowner in the country that hasn’t heard of the Black + Decker brand, and as you might expect from a product from this manufacturer the TLD100 won’t disappoint. Black + Decker is a household name that is synonymous with high quality, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that one of their products features prominently on this list. You can expect some outstanding quality from this leak detector thanks to its well-thought-out design and its excellent functionality.
If you’re looking for a thermal heat gun that offers you plenty of basic functionality, this Black & Decker model will tick all the boxes. There’s no fuss or extraneous detail here – the design is simple and neat offering you a user-friendly heat loss detection solution. It’ll only take seconds to figure out how to use this device to identify where you’re losing heat from your home – perfect for busy homeowners.
Incredibly easy to operate, all you have to do is simply hold the gun and walk around your home to identify where any insulation issues are located. The light indicators show blue if there is a cold draught while there is a red light to show warm draughts, ensuring a simple to read reading. The temperature will be shown in your chosen scale and overall, the device is incredibly user-friendly.
This thermal detector is perfect for anyone who is looking for a basic low-cost product that will get the job done without any difficulty. Some would look upon its no-frills functionality as a negative point, but if you’re looking for budget pricing with accurate thermal leak detection results, this simple model is perfect for your needs. It’s just what you need to help you pinpoint that areas that need further insulation and thus reduce your energy bills exponentially.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a thermal imaging device that can be used for a greater variety of purposes, such as spotting animals in hiding, this isn’t going to be the right choice for you. It isn’t a multifunctional device and has been designed with the needs of homeowners who are looking for a way to make their home energy efficient in mind rather than the needs of those looking for thermal imaging equipment.
Bottom Line: In our opinion, this is the perfect thermal detector for any homeowner who is on a tight budget and who wants to reduce their bills without any unnecessary fuss or hassle. Thanks to its simple and user-friendly design you can benefit from accurate results without any steep learning curve and the entry level price makes this an accessible gadget for anyone. Perfect!
2. Seek Thermal Compact Imager for iOS-Apple
Are versatility and portability what you’re looking for? Then the Seek Compact Imager is ideal. Offering durable thermal imaging, this camera can directly plug right into your Apple smartphone, translating thermal energy into an image that you can see on your phone screen.
With its 36-degree wide field of view, the Compact is perfect for use at close range in an outdoor environment or indoors, so you can detect thermal energy as far as a thousand feet away. Boasting a detectable temperature range between -40 degrees C and 626 degrees F, this device is capable of pinpointing where energy is being lost from inside your home and where you could benefit from more insulation.
As an advantage, this model can also use its thermal imaging technology to quickly identify any overheated circuitry or hot spots so that you can guard against any possible fires inside your property. This multifunctionality makes this a very useful device for homeowners who want to give themselves the best possible protection at home while also helping the reduce their energy bills and create a warmer, more comfortable place to live.
Thanks to its focusable lens, it allows you to give your thermal imagery a fine tune. This makes it an ideal choice not only for DIY homeowners but also professionals like structural auditors, inspectors and contractors. Even if you’re a complete novice, it couldn’t be easier to use this device. All you have to do is just aim it, adjust its focusable lens and in no time, leaks and clogs will be detected so that they can be dealt with in no time.
For those who want the ability to spot animals and people in total darkness, the Compact can also serve that function, operating in complete blackness to deliver you with complete peace of mind or a useful aid to your hunting trip.
Designed to be portable, the Compact comes with its own pocket-sized carry case which is fully waterproof to protect your device from inclement weather. It is also impressively powerful, using more than 32,000 thermal pixels to detect infrared invisible light and display a heat signature visible right on your smartphone handset.
The Compact connects right to your smartphone thanks to a free downloadable app which enables you to find then fix and solve your energy loss problems in a flash. You’ll be able to save money on your heating bills in no time thanks to the Compact.
Are there any downsides to choosing this device? Not many, although one of the problems that some users have discovered is that the included USB connector is quite short and cannot stretch past OtterBox phone cases. There is a way to circumvent this problem by simply using an extension cable however it does make the device clunkier which may not appeal to some.
Also, this gadget requires your smartphone to be capable of supporting USB on the go, allowing power to be taken from the battery of the device. The camera cannot function without this so it’s important to check whether your device has this capability before you choose this model.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a cutting-edge solution that works seamlessly with most cell phones, this is the gadget for you. Capable of fulfilling multiple functions, it is simple to use thanks to the downloadable app and is also incredibly portable for outstanding convenience.
3. Seek Thermal Reveal
The Seek Thermal Reveal Thermal imaging camera offers all of the benefits of customizable settings. The advantage of this is that you can select your preferences from amongst a range of light levels, image settings and power usages.
This highly functional device allows you to not only obtain thermal images but to store, share and transfer them to suit a range of purposes. This puts this camera ahead of its competition.
This device is also designed to be comfortable in your hand thanks to an ergonomic grip and its heads-up display allows you to focus clearly without losing sight of everything surrounding you. This tough device is incredibly strong and robust – durable enough to withstand being kept in your toolbox alongside your other equipment thanks to its rubberized protective casing.
Its rechargeable battery has a long life of as long as ten hours, so you won’t need to worry about having to recharge during use. There is also an impressively large color display so you can see clearly what you’re looking at whatever the local lighting conditions. The advanced technology incorporated into this device means that thermal images can be seen by night or by day, so even if you’re working in an unlit crawl space or room you’ll have clear images in the palm of your hand. As the Reveal is equipped with a three-hundred lumen LED light you’ll be able to clearly see around you even on the darkest night.
This model has highly intuitive controls so even if you’ve never used one of these devices before you’ll have no difficulties in getting to grips with the technology. Its 36-degree wide view can scan the interior of your room rapidly spotting any potential problem areas so you can make rectifications. Able to measure differences in temperature from -40 degrees C up to 626 degrees F, this device is so easy to use it can be used one-handed and its thermal images are saved direct to the inclusive SD card for later use.
The integrated 300 lumens LED light allows you to work in even the darkest of crawl spaces without struggling to see – highly convenient whether you’re a DIYer solving your home insulation problems, a hunter out tracking game or an electrician looking for hotspots. You can even use this camera for thermal imaging for water leak detection – perfect if you’re looking for a clog in your water system.
There aren’t many downsides to this device, although some users reported that the screen was smaller than they imagined.
Bottom Line: If you’re searching for a multifunctional device that’ll allow you to do everything from identify overheating circuitry and clogged water pipes to spotting hidden animals in the dark, this device is perfect for you. With its advanced design and innovative technology, it’s a great choice for home DIYers and professional contractors alike.
4. FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Imaging System
Are you looking for a portable thermal camera that you can pop into your pocket or bag to take anywhere? The FLIR C2 is perfect for you. Boasting MSX-enhanced thermal images, you can benefit from outstanding detail that will allow you to identify any problem zones more easily while its lightweight and compact structure makes it a breeze to carry anywhere you need to go.
This imaging system allows you to capture as many as 500 radiometric images and its 4800 pixels allows the capturing of thermal measurements between 14- and 302-degrees F making this model ideal for professionals. Designed for practicality, its weight and size ensures that it’s comfortable enough to keep in your pocket without any problems.
The automatic powering off feature means that you’ll save your battery life, avoiding the need to recharge while you’re out and about. As this is actually a relatively affordable device for such professional quality, you can be confident of its accuracy and durability at a price that even home DIYers can afford.
This leak detection camera boasts one must-have feature – MSX real-time image enhancement. This function adds details from the device’s integrated visible light camera onto the whole infra-red image in real-time to produce an undiluted complete thermal picture that has visible light features for instant identification of problematic heat patterns.
The large screen measures 3 inches in diameter to show you all of the key details you need to know. With its assistance you can see any signs of moisture, detect hot spots that could signal a loose connection or overloaded circuit, or identify any missing insulation or hidden culprits that are causing energy to be wasted.
The field of view is especially generous when compared to many of its rivals – 45 degrees rather than just 36 degrees. This means you can see more of the scene and makes this a device that’s suitable for professional use.
When you store images from this device, you can use the FLIR tools software which comes included to process the thermal measurements. You can analyze the images, change the color palette and access visual and thermal pictures for a more convincing report.
On the downside, there can be some lag during the calibration phase, although this is a very minor point.
Bottom Line: If you want to invest in a cutting-edge device that’s suitable for professional or DIY use, The FLIR C2 is a great choice. Thanks to its inclusive software you can process your thermal measurements with ease, while the many excellent innovations and features make it easy and accurate to use whether you’re pinpointing energy leaks, identifying moisture or honing in on overloaded circuits.
5. FLIR E5: Compact Thermal Imaging Camera
The FLIR brand of thermal imaging cameras is known for its high quality, so you can expect the E5 to offer you accurate results and user-friendliness. Rugged yet lightweight, this product is described by the manufacturer as an “ultimate inspection tool” and it certainly lives up to the hype.
Its 120x90 infrared resolution is paired with the brand’s unique MSX (Multi Spectral Digital Imaging) technology to easily identify and highlight a range of common problems including water leaks, energy loss, overheated circuits, cold and hot zones and structural problems. Whether you’re investigating a mechanical, electrical or industrial issue, you can depend on the FLIR E5 to get the job done accurately and quickly.
The integrated MSX technology allows the extraction of key information from the onboard digital camera before overlaying it onto the thermal image for a high res radiometric image of real-time events. In simple terms, it enables any irregular or unusual activity to be spotted accurately for swift action to be taken.
Despite its many impressive features, it’s very uncomplicated and simple to operate this device. It boasts a user-friendly and intuitive on-screen menu as well as ergonomically designed buttons so you can even operate the device single handed if required.
Another cutting-edge feature of this gadget is that it connects with the FLIR downloadable mobile app to allow the sharing of images and sending of reports possible from any location via a tablet, laptop or smartphone. This feature makes it ideal for use by contractors who are out on a jobsite but who need to send information back to the workplace in real-time.
Although this is an affordable gadget, you won’t be compromising on accuracy or effectiveness. The inbuilt technology affords this product an advantage over many of its competitors when it comes to swift and accurate diagnosis of industrial, mechanical and electrical problems.
The package even includes the free of charge FLIR reporting software tools as well as a rapid release lithium ion rechargeable battery and many other useful accessories such as a USB cable, battery charger, universal power charger, dedicated user manual, software for the Mac OS and PC and a robust carrying case which allows for convenient transportation and storage.
There aren’t many downsides to buying this device. If we were going to be picky, we’d mention that the resolution offered is a little lower than that offered by the highest range models, but with its considerably more affordable price, the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages.
Bottom Line: Whether you’re a professional or a keen DIYer wanting to save money on home energy bills, the FLIR E5 ideal for you. Its cutting-edge onboard technology means you won’t be compromising on quality even with the affordable price tag, and the accuracy and ease of use is hard to beat at this price point.
Choosing the right thermal leak detection kit isn’t always easy. There are a lot of things to bear in mind when making your choice and it can be all too easy to make an expensive mistake. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional contractor, you’re sure to find the right kit for you among our top five recommended models.
We’ve done all the hard work for you so you can benefit from our expertise. Whether you’re looking for a budget friendly gadget to use at home to pinpoint where you could save energy or whether you’re looking for a more advanced piece of kit that has Wi-Fi connectivity and real-time imaging, we have a product on our list that’ll suit your needs.
Although any of the five products that we recommend would be a solid choice, if you’re looking for the best overall value we would recommend the FLIR C2 system for its impressive features and surprisingly low price that brings innovation within easy reach of everyone. Its high-quality imaging, real-time reporting facility and inclusive free of charge tools to allow for the creation of reports, mean that it’s a great choice for professionals out on the job site or for home users who want to invest in the best.
On the other hand, if you’re simply searching for a user-friendly basic no-frills model for use at home, it’s hard to beat the Black & Decker TLD100 which gets the job done at a fraction of the price of a more advanced model. If you’re a DIY user who is just keen to pinpoint the areas of their property which could benefit from a little more insulation, this handy and affordable tool will give you the readings that you need without any of the extra features that could complicate the device and increase the price.
A Buyer’s Guide
Once you’ve decided to buy thermal leak detection equipment, you need to determine which is the right product for you. The problem is that there are so many different options out there that it can be almost impossible to decide quickly and easily.
If you’re wondering what you should be looking for in a thermal leak detection kit, we look at some of the factors that you need to bear in mind here so you can avoid making an expensive mistake.
Your budget will, in the end, determine which product you can afford to buy. The good news is that there are some excellent products which can perform well but which can be bought for a relatively low price. While you usually get what you pay for, and therefore it’s often a bad idea to go with a bargain basement model, if you opt for one of the mid-range products that offer plenty of features but at a reasonable price you can get the best of both worlds. Bear in mind that a little more money spent initially can pay off in the long term with a more durable and long-lasting product.
Another key element to consider is the applications for which you intend to use your gadget. Are you only using it at home to work out where you’re losing energy and therefore where you could benefit from a little more insulation to save money on your bills? Or are you a professional contractor who needs to use the device for work related tasks? If so, your needs will be much more demanding than those of the average DIYer. You’ll need to make sure that your chosen device is highly durable and resilient as well as very accurate. You’ll also need to make sure that you have an LED light for use in less than optimal conditions and you could also benefit from the facility to transmit and store information in real time.
Many thermal leak detection kits offer a host of extra features which you may or may not need. If you’re a DIY user with very basic requirements, it isn’t always worth your while to pay extra for an all-singing all-dancing device which can do a whole range of things that you’re never going to need. You need to identify the key features that you’re going to need in your chosen device before you buy. For example – are you going to require a moisture pen to identify water leaks? Do you need the humidity levels to be recorded? There are many extras which may be included and you need to work out whether any or all of them are suitable for you.
If you’re only buying a thermal leak detection kit for your own use at home, you’re certainly not going to be using any reporting features, however if you’re a contractor who will be out on site, being able to transmit information and data in real-time back to the office could be highly beneficial or even vital. Having inclusive software to enable you to create and send reports is also probably going to be an extremely useful feature if you’re buying a kit for professional use, and the extra outlay for one of these more advanced devices will be well worth it in the long run.
If you’ve never used a thermal leak detector before, you could probably benefit from choosing an intuitive device with user-friendly controls. You don’t want to have a steep learning curve to get to grips with before you use your gadget for the first time. Make sure that you’re choosing a model which is easily navigable and which has been designed for ease of use. While you’re considering user-friendliness, pay attention to the screen size of the device. A larger screen will give you much greater visibility when it comes to getting all the details.
Perhaps one of the most important elements to bear in mind when you’re choosing the right thermal leak detector for you is the accuracy of the gadget. If you only need the device for home use, you may not require such precise accuracy as you would if you were using your device for professional applications, however you still need to be sure that you’re getting the right results. If you’re a professional contractor, accuracy is absolutely paramount, especially if the results that you are getting will result in your breaking open a roof or wall. Accuracy in these cases means being able to detect even a small anomaly and state of the art imaging software will allow you to get the best possible results.
How well can your chosen detector detect infra-red energy? While one device may only be sensitive to temperature chances of 0.10 degrees C, others have sensitivity to temperature changes that is as much as 0.05 degrees C. If sharpness of image is key to your application, you’ll need to choose the most sensitive detector you can find.
Another element to keep in your mind before you make your final choice is the temperatures which you’re going to need to measure. How high or how low a variation in temperatures are you going to have to visualize? Some models are capable of measuring temperatures as high as 662 degrees F – ideal for use by professionals, while others are only capable of measuring much lower temperatures. The type of application you need your device for will determine the specifications that you’re looking for in your chosen gadget.
Whichever device you end up choosing, you should make certain that you are benefiting from a manufacturer’s warranty on your purchase. Without a warranty, you won’t be protected from any potential faults or defects. At a bare minimum you should look for a manufacturer’s warranty of at least one year and preferably two if you want to be certain of the best possible protection and coverage against any potential problems.
If you follow these buying guide tips, you should find it easier than you imagined to make the right choice of product for you. Whether you’re a professional or a home user, you’ll find that if you bear these points in mind you’re sure to select the perfect thermal leak detector kit to suit your individual requirements.