Infrared thermometer

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Forum topic by Pawky posted 06-30-2011 01:46 AM 2357 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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278 posts in 3189 days

06-30-2011 01:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: infrared thermometer recommendations

Hey guys. I am looking at getting an infrared thermometer and was wondering what you all recommend getting. I can’t justify spending a couple hundred dollars for one. I am looking for one that is decently accurate on the temperature so I can use it with reptiles/amphibian tanks as well as around the house. Thanks for your help.

9 replies so far

View lew's profile


12762 posts in 4141 days

#1 posted 06-30-2011 02:07 AM

Check Here:

I have the one that looks like a pistol but it was on sale when I bought it. Works great and when you are not checking temperatures it is great fun to watch the dog chase the laser dot.

EDIT: Just opened the Harbor Freight catalog and this is on sale for $30. Model Cen-Tech, Lot# 96451, Coupon # 43339324, good until 31 July 2011

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3454 days

#2 posted 06-30-2011 04:31 AM

I have a Ryobi rangefinder that will measure temperture using IR. IIRC, it was around $50.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View TechRedneck's profile


770 posts in 3242 days

#3 posted 06-30-2011 04:42 AM

I have one from Sears, wasn’t too much money for what it does. I keep it in my tool kit to test the temp of computer processors and used it when I put in my coal stove to test the temps of the stove, and registers. Once you have one you’ll find uses for it all over the place. You can get them on sale for around $50-$60
I’ve had it for a couple years with no problems. Eats batteries if you use the laser pointer a lot.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

View monkeyrobot's profile


2 posts in 2942 days

#4 posted 06-30-2011 04:45 AM

Lowes has a General unit that they seem to be closing out at $10. I bought one today, but have yet to go pick it up. At that price, I figure it’s worth a go!

As a side note, they also have the General moisture meter for the same price. I don’t know how it compares to a higher end unit, but again, it must be better than nothing, right?

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3492 days

#5 posted 07-01-2011 09:29 AM

These are great to locate a bad injector on a diesel. the coolest exhaust port on the manifold is the bum injector.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 3025 days

#6 posted 07-01-2011 10:31 AM

I have the black and decker (you know, Dewalt with an orange paint job) that I picked up at Lowe’s for less than $50. Works great.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Paul Pomerleau's profile

Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 3079 days

#7 posted 07-01-2011 01:51 PM

Infrared thermometers are priced according to the quality of the lens’ and how accurate you need them to be.
On every thermometer, you will see a “distance to spot” number like 4:1
This means at 4 inches away, the gun is reading a thermal spot that is 1 inch in diameter.
The laser light you see is not the spot, it is simply a pointer.
The further away you are from the target, the bigger the spot and it may start to pick up other things and give you an inaccurate reading.
In your case, let’s suppose you have a snake that has a body diameter of 1 inch.
With the cheaper 4:1 thermometer, you would have to be within 4 inches away from the snake to get an accurate reading, any further and the spot will start picking up the temp of the surrounding area which will be different.
Checking for cold air leaks around doors and windows, or brake temps on your car to see which is rubbing, you may need something more accurate, since you will want a tighter spot at a distance like a 12:1 or 18:1.
Of course, the higher the D:S ratio, the more expensive it will be.
If someone is asking $200 for a 4:1 thermometer, walk away, they are ripping you off.
So, the important thing to do is compare prices with the D:S ratio and pick the one that is right for you.
I hope this helps you in your decision of what type to buy.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

View brtech's profile


1065 posts in 3308 days

#8 posted 07-01-2011 03:54 PM

Thanks monkeyrobot. I just ordered both of those from Lowes, and now I have to go pick them up.

Great info Paul. The specs on that $10 General IRT207 are:
Distance to Spot (D:S) Ratio: 8:1 Measurement Range: -4° to 604°F (-20° to 317°C) Measurement Accuracy: ±4°F or 2% of reading, whichever is greater Emissivity: Fixed at 0.95 Resolution: 0.5°F / 0.5°C

8:1 is not great, but not 4:1. Is ±4°F as terrible as it sounds? 2% isn’t so bad.

View Pawky's profile


278 posts in 3189 days

#9 posted 07-03-2011 11:02 PM

Thank you all for your help. And thank you for talking about reasons for wanting the greater distance to spot ratio.

Are most meters about as accurate for what they read? I didn’t see that stat on multiple of them. That is to say, if I take a reading and it says 100 degrees F, how close to that is the actual temperature is that? Does that vary with the quality of the meter as well? Thank you

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