Compact Thermal Camera
The Flir One Pro can turn your smartphone into a thermal imaging camera, giving you the ability to find hidden problems without resorting to demolition.
Like more expensive thermal imagers, the Flir One Pro converts heat signatures into visible images, showing you what normally can’t be seen with the human eye. It’s like “Predator vision” for your phone. When the camera is paired with the Flir One app, you can capture stills, videos, and time-lapse images with the tap of a finger. Because the images are saved on your phone, they’re immediately available to send back to the office or to clients without the need to download them to a separate device.
For a $400 smartphone add-on, what the Flir One Pro can do is pretty remarkable. I recently took some fiberglass batts out of my ceiling, and the camera clearly showed which joist bays were empty, and even the location of individual joists—both in the uninsulated and insulated parts of the ceiling. The temperature difference between the joists and the cavities was less than 1° according to the device, but showed up so clearly you’d think you were looking at bare framing.
This level of clarity is possible with help from two built-in cameras—one has a visible light sensor with 1440×1080 resolution; the other has a 160×120 infrared sensor that can measure temps from -4°F to 752°F. You can use either camera alone, but the combination enhances details that aren’t otherwise distinguishable. When you review thermal or composite photos in the app, swiping up or down lets you see what the visible camera captured (it takes a picture simultaneously), which is useful to determine what you’re looking at later on.
Now, if you’re wondering whether the Pro version is worth $200 more than the base Flir One, consider this: The Pro’s thermal camera has four times the resolution of the basic model, providing significantly more detail. The base model also lacks the Pro’s high-gain/low-gain selector, adjustable IR scale, and moveable “area of interest” markers. Both models run for about an hour per charge; less if you’re shooting video. If you don’t yet have a thermal camera, I think the Flir One Pro is definitely worth considering.