The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (2023)

The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (1)You know it's true:

Water leaks, such as pipe and ceiling leaks, can cause major problems for the entire building, while damp mold growth is also a health hazard that can cause respiratory problems.

To make matters worse, not all cases of water leaks are easily spotted with the naked eye.

If you ignore leaky pipes and other hidden water leak problems long enough, they can wreak havoc throughout your home.

This article focuses on the best thermal imaging camera for water and pipe leak detection and how thermal imaging technology is used in this industry.

This post contains affiliate links through which we may earn a small commission from your purchases.

Advantages of thermography for water leak detection

Based on the science of infrared energy, thermal imaging captures thermal signals emitted by objects and formulates images based on differences in temperature measurements.

The application of the thermal imager in building maintenance, building diagnostics, home inspection and pre-purchase property verification is gaining more and more popularity over the years.

WeilThis non-invasive technology can really help identify water leaks and moisture issues early to prevent property damage, while avoiding major repair costs can provide a return on your thermal imager.

In addition, the thermal imager is an excellent tool that offers many benefits in the workplace and allows home inspectors and installers to use itwork more safely and efficiently.

Plumbers can quickly and easily do their job with the thermal imaging camera to discover hidden leaks, inspect for water damage that is not readily visible, and pinpoint repair locations.

For example, this video showcases thermal imaging case studies that have helped the home inspector identify hidden water issues and water damage not visible to the naked eye:

How to choose a thermal imaging camera: Important factors to consider

When choosing an infrared thermal imaging camera for home renovation and inspection activities (e.g. detecting wet areas and water leaks), the following important factors should be considered:

1.Resolution of the thermal imaging sensordetermines the quality and clarity of the image. A higher sensor resolution produces sharper images because more pixels and data points are captured per unit area. In addition to the screen resolution, some prefer thermal imaging cameras with a larger screen diagonal, while others would like to have the touchscreen function.

3.frames per second, which refers to the speed at which the infrared detector creates images.
Most thermal imagers on the market today have a 9Hz refresh rate, which means they create/refresh the image at a rate of 9 times per second.

4.Cost: Compare the price with your actual needs and budget. For example, a homeowner who does an occasional home inspection doesn't want to spend more than $1,000 on a high-resolution professional thermal imaging camera.

Other factors to consider, depending on the intended application, are the thermal imager's measurement accuracy, temperature range, thermal sensitivity, battery life and special features such as Wi-Fi connectivity.

Certified thermographer Devin Flynn shares more information in the video below:

The 5 best infrared thermal imagers for water and pipe leak detection

Not only can the thermal imager detect hidden water leaks and their source, but it is also able to detect moisture that cannot be physically reached with moisture meters.

We start with professional thermal imaging cameras used by building inspectors, equipment maintenance specialists and installers:

and then we cover the most affordable alternatives for those who just want a thermal imager with basic features for easy home inspection.

#1 Best Pro: FLIR E50bx Thermal Imaging Camera

The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (2)The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (3)This professional FLIR infrared camera withhigh IR resolution of 43,200 (240×180) pixelsIt is a very useful device for detecting and identifying water leak, flange leak, water pipe leak, pipe clog, pipe leak, water intrusion, dampness, roof leak, etc.

He canscan large areas quicklyand identify areas of interest where there is a leak in real time, without having to interrupt the operation of the installation and equipment.

This state-of-the-art infrared inspection camera is one of the best thermal imaging cameras in surveillance facilities that are difficult for construction professionals to reach with contact meters to reduce downtime on repairs and allow for easy verification of the entire process.

This powerful tool for the construction industry is equipped withMSX (Multispectral Dynamic Imaging)Technology that overlays thermal imaging with digital photography to produce superb quality images - shown in its magnificent form3,5″ Farb-LCD-Touchscreen.

METERLiNK technology connects this professional warming device via Bluetooth and wirelessly records meter readings directly into infrared images while you can use yours tooBuilt-in Wi-Fi for mobile devices and the FLIR mobile appeasy to share and report.

Watch the video below, which provides an overview of the FLIR E-bx series thermal imaging camera, with even considering the top-of-the-line FLIR E60bx as an upgrade if it's within your budget.

FLIR E50bx, with 60 Hz frame rate andhigh thermal sensitivity at <0.045 °Cnext toZoom Digital Continuo 4XThis feature is highly recommended when detecting fuel and gas leaks as it can detect leak locations from a safe distance/remote. You can improve your workplace safety by preventing leaks that could pose a hazard to bystanders while simplifying the entire leak detection and repair process.

With a temperature range of -4 to 248°F -20 to 120°C, the FLIR E50bxideal for air/gas and water leak detection.

It has integrated GPS data into the image to help you locate the leak and pinpoint the problem area easily. You can spot leaks from a safe distance, get real-time data on leaks, and therefore react quickly to fix the problem.

For example, the video below shows the view from a FLIR E50bx thermal imaging camera.Water leak from broken pump in circulating industrial water heater machine.

According to video owner SwarfWorks, it was pretty dark where he was in an enclosure and that powerful thermal imaging camera certainly helped show what was going on.

The FLIR E50bx professional thermal imaging camera is also includedBuilt-in RH/dew point alarms indicate areas at risk of surface condensation and mold growth.

Buy this powerful device and you'll spend a lot less time identifying potential problems.

Check out great user reviews and latest prices >> here

If the FLIR E50bx isn't in your budget, you might want to consider the next one on the list.

Nr. 2: Infrarotkamera Fluke Ti100

The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (4)The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (5)This 9 Hertz general purpose thermal imaging camera with an ergonomic grip is designed for one-handed use. When using it in the field, you can wear gloves, adjust the grip and still handle and operate it easily.

The Fluke Ti100 IR camera is included3.5 inch LCD screenmi≤0.10°C thermal sensitivity.

It's light; The battery can be easily removed and replaced.

This ruggedly constructed camera can display a variety of open images for convenient selection and analysis. You can choose color standards, reference images, markers and emissivities.

The Fluke Ti100 thermal imager comes with a free, easy-to-use software package calledSmartViewName. Once the images have been imported into the Fluke software suite, you can create or edit each individual image and create professional-looking reports.

You can also use the Fluke Connect app to share images and data from your smartphone with remote team members to troubleshoot problems in the field.

Compared to the FLIR E50bx with 240 × 180 (43,200 pixels) resolution IR thermal imager:

The Fluke TIS20, with a resolution of 160 x 120 (19,200 pixels), is a relatively inexpensive professional thermal imager option for building inspectors and installers.

You can check thoseFluke Ti100 price and user reviewsvia the link/button below.

240x180-Sensor (43.200 Pixel)

3.5 inches LCDTouch-Screen

60 Hertz frames per second

FLIR MSX Technology

-20 to +120 °C (-4 to +248 °F)

<0,045 °Cthermal sensitivity

±2°C thermal accuracy

WiFi enabled

5 hoursbattery life

for professionals


Thermal camera

160 x 120Sensor (19.200 Pixel)

3.5 inchesLCD screen

9 Hertzframes per second

Fluke IR fusion technology

(Video) Best Thermal Leak Detection Kits Review 2021

-20+250 °C(-4 anda 482°F)

Thermal Sensitivity <0.10°C

±2°C thermal accuracy

WiFi enabled

4 hours of battery life


Thermal camera

80x60Sensor (4.800 Pixel)


9 Hertzframes per second

FLIR MSX Technology

-10 to +150 °C (14 to 302 °F)

Thermal Sensitivity <0.10°C

±2°C thermal accuracy

WiFi enabled

2 hours of battery life

best value

(Video) Burgess and Partners - Detecting Plumbing Leaks with Thermal Imaging Technology

#3: Best value for money: FLIR C3 thermal imaging camera

The FLIR C2 is an excellent choice for a handheld thermal imaging camera with a great balance of features and price, making it a "sweet spot" for professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike.

While most people love their excellencepocket sizeProfile for comfort and easy storage -

is also onefunnyThermal imaging system equipped with high resolution640 x 480 pixel digital camera,80×60 infrared thermal sensor, next to3 inch color LCD touch screenwith automatic rotation function.

The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (6)The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (7)Powered by FLIR's proprietary MSX technology that produces high-quality thermal images that add critical detail to the infrared image in real-time:

This compact and durable thermal imager is capable of detecting hidden problems such as water leaks, sewer leaks, wet walls, clogged pipes,electrical hot spots and faulty wiringetc without resorting to destructive testing.

The video below compares the FLIR C3 model to the C2 model and explains their differences.

All in all, the FLIR C3 is a newer version with Wi-Fi enabled allowing for instant image sharing, while the C3 model also has other additional features such as picture-in-picture imaging mode and hot/cold spot displays.

Compared to high-end professional thermal imaging cameras that cost a few thousand dollars, the sub-$1000 FLIR C3 seems like a more affordable solution for most people, and this is one of the most popular thermal imaging cameras out there! for a plumber!

FLIR C3 is easy to use, as is the video below showing an example of how the FLIR C3 thermal inspection camera detectsWater leak in the ceilingunder a main bathroom.

You can also use it to trace underground pipes and pipes behind the wall without having to dig or drill holes to find leaks.

Once the thermal images have been captured, they can be opened for free.FLIR Tool-Softwarewhich is compatible with Windows and MAC. You can edit the images and create an inspection report if you wish.

Another nice feature that people often find useful is the built-in LED headlight that can be used as a flashlight or for photographic lighting.

(Video) Can a FLIR C5 Infrared Camera Find Water Damage?

The runtime of this thermal imaging camera is 2 hours and the device can be charged using the USB cable that comes with your purchase of the FLIR C3, which also includes the battery, power supply/charger, lanyard, carrying case and user manual. .

Check out the user reviews of this cheap thermal imaging camera >> here

#4: HTI HT-18 Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera

The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (8)The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (9)This is a lesser-known brand, but user reviews show it's a hidden gem worth considering, especially if you're in the market for one.Inexpensive thermal imaging camera under 500€.

The HTI HT-18 thermal imaging camera has a temperature measurement accuracy of ±2 °C ±2%, a frame rate of 9 Hz, a 3.2 inch color display and 5 different color palettes to choose from.

This lightweight, portable thermal imager also comes with a built-in 3GB memory card, lithium-ion battery, and protective case.

The video below shows an unboxing overview of this low cost thermal imaging camera and its home inspection application:

This portable thermal imaging camera has receivedvery positive review, many users like the picture quality and judge the price reasonable.

You can check thoseHTI HT-18 current price and user reviewsbelow, and see how it has helped your home improvement activities achieve great results.

While the resolution of the HTI HT-18’s infrared image is 220 x 160 (35,200 pixels) –

The updated version of the HT-19 doubles the resolution to 76,800 pixels (320 x 240) for even better picture quality.


Thermal camera

220 x 160resolution IV

9Hz frame rate

–20 to +300°C (–4 to +572°F)

±2 °C / ±2 % thermal accuracy

standalone wearable device


Thermal camera

160 x 120heat sensor

8.7frame rate Hz

-20 to +400°C (-4 to +752°F)

±3 °C / ±5 % thermal accuracy

Mount an iOS/Android device

(Video) ✅ 8 Best Pipeline Water Leak Detector New Model 2022

best budget


Thermal camera

80x60heat sensor

8.7frame rate Hz

-20 to 120°C (-4 to +248°F)

±3 °C / ±5 % thermal accuracy

Mount an iOS/Android device

#5 Best Budget: FLIR One PRO for iOS/Android

This is a highly portable thermal imaging camera designed for convenient use on iOS/Android devices; It is easy to use and easy to configure.

Simply attach the FLIR ONE Pro thermal imaging camera to your smart device and it will display the thermal images on the screen of your iPhone/iPad or Android smartphone/tablet.

The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (10)The 5 best thermal imaging cameras to detect water and plumbing leaks (11)
Equipped with160×120 thermal resolutionmi8.7Hz frame rateThis warming device is able to cover the temperature range from -20 °C to 400 °C.

Unlike the Seek Thermal Compact Imager which uses the iOS/Android smart device battery to operate:

The FLIR ONE Pro is equipped with its own built-in battery, so its operation will not reduce the battery life of your device or tablet.

The Flir One app provides you with all the necessary instructions to use this thermal imaging camera properly and you can enjoy its wide range of functions:

such as color mapping and temperature scaling, image editing, time-lapse video, etc.

You can use this thermal leak detector for home renovation work, such as more.

Review Summary: The Verdict

Leaks cannot be repaired if not found.

Leaks that go undetected can cost hundreds of dollars in water bills, along with the potentially significant repair costs required to fix the damage caused by water leaks:

Getting a home improvement infrared thermal imaging camera is one of the best investment decisions you can make.

We have covered the top 5 thermal imaging cameras to use to detect plumbing problems, water leaks, moisture leaks, roof leaks and water pipe leaks, etc. problems that can cause serious damage to a building.

Our main recommendations are:

  • best professional: High resolutionFLIR E50bx thermal imaging camerafor the construction industry, with a professional 240 × 180 (43,200 pixels) thermal infrared sensor and a large 3.5-inch color LCD touchscreen.
  • best value: Pocket size with all functionsFLIR C3 Compact Thermal Imaging Systemwith 3-inch color LCD touchscreen and Wi-Fi enabled.
  • best budget:FLIR A PROwith a 160 x 120 thermal sensor designed for comfortable use on Android and iOS devices.

It is your decision to choose a good option that best suits your needs and budget. The most important are listed below10 ways to use a thermal imaging camera for building inspection and home improvement projects.

(Video) The Best Thermal-imaging Cameras in 2023

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(What of the Thermalhausbildes:Adapted from Wikimedia.

Bildnachweis: Black Hills Professional Home Inspections LLC, Black Hills Thermal Imaging in Rapid City, South Dakota. 605-209-6766)

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