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Best Thermal Imaging Cameras For Schools

thermal imaging cameras
(Image credit: Flir)

Thermal imaging cameras are a powerful tool in school safety management when it comes to detecting body temperatures. By using heat-detecting systems, it is possible to see if a student, faculty member, or visitor to the school is exhibiting signs of illness through elevated temperature.

These cameras are fast becoming the go-to way to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and safely get students back into a physical learning spaces.

While at-home learning has been something many schools adapted to using the likes of Google Classroom, document cameras and Chromebooks, the move back to the buildings is inevitable. 

Thermal imaging cameras are so advanced now that there are even attachments that work with smartphones. More advanced systems can even detect a person's temperature at a distance, which is a quick and noninvasive way to scan those coming into the school to make sure they're not running any kind of fever.

With shops and offices already employing these tools, it makes sense for schools to follow.

Best Thermal Imaging Cameras

Lots of options are available but simple cameras are an affordable yet effective way to get the job done. 

Of course, these simple-to-use and handheld detectors can also be used in schools by the science department for carrying out experiments. 

One company that's been pushing the frontier of user-friendly and compact thermal imaging cameras is Flir. As such, they have adapted to create education-specific resources for their tools and take the top spot in our list of the best thermal imaging cameras. 

1. FLIR T560-EST Thermal Screening Solution

FLIR T560-EST

(Image credit: Flir)

FLIR T560-EST Thermal Screening Solution

Best for high-quality screening

Power: Battery | Form: Handheld | Resolution: 640 x 480 | Temperature range: 59 to 113 F / 15 to 45C

Highly accurate
Easy to use
Stand up auto mode with laptop
Very expensive

The FLIR T560-EST is a relatively new device rolled out by this temperature detection specialist to fight sickness. This tool is known as a thermal screening solution, and is designed to be used for people entering places where temperature detection needs to be very accurate but also quick and noninvasive.

The battery-powered device picks up skin temperature with graphic pass or fail indicators, and offers automatic sampling to maintain and update temperature average. It can be mounted and works with desktop software so the person working with it won't need to manually move it; rather the people being tested can stand in position to be scanned automatically. 

The downside? The system costs nearly $15,000, making it more than ten times the price of less specifically designed options, such as those that follow.


2. Flir TG165 Spot Thermal Camera

Flir TG165 Spot Thermal Camera

(Image credit: Flir)

Flir TG165 Spot Thermal Camera

Best affordable handheld

Power: Battery | Form: Handheld | Resolution: 80 x 60 | Temperature range: 14 to 113 F / -10 to 45C

Accurate
Easy to point and detect
Affordable
Requires handheld use

The Flir TG165 Spot Thermal Camera is a handheld device that works in a point-to-detect manner. It uses infrared beams to detect thermal variation in body temperatures ranging from 89.6 to 108.5 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 42.5 degrees Celsius). It features a multipoint laser that pinpoints where the device is being aimed, which also helps with consistency across measurements.

Traditionally used for industry detection of mechanical temperatures, these devices are made to an extremely high standard and are reliable. Since it is a multiuse device, it's great for in-school study too. Plus, at around $500, it's a lot more affordable than many other options.


3. Fluke TIS20 Thermal Imaging Camera

Fluke TIS20 Thermal Imaging Camera

(Image credit: Fluke)

Fluke TIS20 Thermal Imaging Camera

Best for rugged durability

Power: Battery | Form: Handheld | Resolution: 120 x 90 | Temperature range: -4 to 662 F / -20 to 350 C

Rugged build quality
Easy to use
Large scan area
Share images in real-time
Not cheap
Not the highest resolution

Despite the name that suggests chance could play a part, this is a very accurate spot detector designed for use in industry. It's also very hardy and built to last.

The Fluke TIS20 Thermal Imaging Camera offers an IR-Fusion Blending mode to help take into account wider variations. Measurements can range in temperature from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 662 degrees (-20  to 350 degrees Celsius). 

This tool also offers the Fluke cloud storage option, meaning results can be saved with 129 x 90 resolution images managed by the user.


4. PerfectPrime IR0002

PerfectPrime IR0002

(Image credit: PerfectPrime)

PerfectPrime IR0002

Best for affordability

Power: Battery | Form: Handheld | Resolution: 60 x 60 | Temperature range: -4 to 572 F / -20 to 300 C

Great sensitivity
Wide range
Easy to use
Affordable
Low resolution

The PerfectPrime IR0002 thermal imaging camera is a point-and-shoot device that allows for quick and easy temperature monitoring. It has a nice image mixing feature that allows you to decide how much of the light image you see of the person is overlaid with the infrared heat vision image. This lets you see the subject clearly while also getting a clear at-a-glance read of their temperature, as well as the number reading on the top, of course.

This is a relatively affordable model (around $300) that's easy to use in a point-and-shoot format. It won't record video but there is an SD memory card slot that allows for recorded storage of images if you need.


5. Seek Thermal Compact

Seek Thermal Compact

(Image credit: Seek)

Seek Thermal Compact

Best for smartphones

Power: Phone powered | Form: Handheld | Resolution: 206 x 156 | Temperature range: -40 to 626 F / -40 to 330 C

Easy to use with smartphones
Allows for video recording
Affordable
High resolution
Only works on Android or iOS, not both
Very small and needs to be handled carefully

The Seek Thermal Compact is super small and easy-to-use device that plugs into either iOS or Android devices, depending on which model you get. It's affordable (around $210), offers a wide temperature range, and can record high-resolution (compared to the competition) video. The spot mode is useful for temperature detection and the range is excellent in terms of temperature, distance, and field of view. 

This device is small so it needs to be handled with care, but since one designated person is likely using this with their phone they will probably be careful anyway.