The Best Infrared Cameras of 2021

Scott Repasky
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Infrared cameras are often used for photography, where infrared-sensitive cameras are used to capture images that are otherwise seen as black, feel like they sense or detect invisible electromagnetic waves.

An infrared sensor is actually a semiconductor; it converts light into another form of energy, namely, voltage, and is recorded as a current. This system is quite different from a photo receptor, which is a thermopile or a photomultiplier for detecting visible and other types of electromagnetic radiation.

In the world of photography, infrared imaging can be used to:

  • Record the body temperature of plants.
  • Detect infrared energy used by living organisms, record the effect of infrared thermal radiation on humans, and have the ability to suggest thermal imaging of health-related areas.
  • Analyze the workings of meteorological and astronomical objects.
  • Image creative signs without including to the contrast.

In the world of security, infrared imaging can be used to:

  • Inspect the security and operation of physical structures and installations.
  • Detect natural, chemical and physical material.
  • Measure movement through particular areas.
  • Survey hot spots.
  • Find the walkways or passages through houses.
  • Spy on people.
NameCategoryProduct
Nest Cam IndoorBest OverallNest Cam Indoor
Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security CameraBudget PickBlink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security Camera
Arlo Pro 3 Spotlight CameraUpgrade PickArlo Pro 3 Spotlight Camera

1. Nest Cam Indoor

Our rating: 9 / 10

Nest Cam Indoor

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Pros:

  • Super easy setup
  • Very high resolution night vision
  • Motion detection comes standard
  • Can integrate with Amazon Alexa and Google Home
  • Functional in a wide temperature range
  • Very stylish
  • You can somewhat customize the night vision
  • HD videos with two-way audio
  • Responsive customer service

Cons:

  • Cannot zoom in or out
  • Closer inspection at video reveal pixilation
  • No battery-life indicator

Besides being a very capable security camera, Nest Cam is a great indoor camera for shooting videos that can be used for social media or to share with family and friends. The video quality is amazing. The image sensor captures a 180-degree wide view with a very high resolution of 1080p.

At night, Nest Cam automatically switches to infared mode, and it can actually capture video that’s much sharper than what most other cameras are capable of, even without a dedicated night-vision mode.

This smart camera does not have a way to zoom in or out, but you can use a Nest mobile app to zoom, crop, and even rotate the image.

2. Arlo Pro 3 Spotlight Camera

Our rating: 8 / 10

Arlo Pro 3 Spotlight Camera

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Pros:

  • Has a very affordable price
  • Provides quality video and photos
  • The free cloud storage solution is a definite win for most users
  • It has a battery life that can last up to 6 months
  • Comes with a night vision
  • Easy to set up
  • You can ask Alexa to take photos or videos for you
  • You can also link it to a Nest thermostat

Cons:

  • It has a short battery life, and it stops recording when the battery has run out
  • Its battery needs to be charged with a manual charger

(VMC4030P)

The Arlo Pro 3 Wireless Camera by NETGEAR is a powerful and feature-rich wireless camera that comes with a lot of capabilities. It is the perfect way for you to ensure the security and safety of your home while at the same time letting you keep an eye on how your children are doing.

It is transparent and sleek, and it can monitor each and every corner of your home. Not only is it a great security tool, but it can also be used as a baby monitor.

Our rating: 6 / 10

Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security Camera

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Pros:

  • Very easy setup
  • Fast response time
  • Great viewing area
  • Includes an audio device that sounds like a regular wired security camera
  • 2-way audio
  • Tagged zones

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best infrared camera?

There’s a wide range of infrared cameras on the market today. They’re pretty expensive and the technology is bound to change in the coming months and years. If you don’t have your heart set on one of these, we highly recommend you wait until there’s more info about the new available products in this space.

That being said, the D-Link DCS-5220L Day & Night Network Camera looks like a strong contender. It’s being billed as a “new kind of Day & Night security camera” and it’s currently available for pre-order. But don’t pre-order just yet! They’re not expected to ship until Q2 of 2016.

How accurate are infrared cameras?

Infrared cameras may be great for catching criminal activity but they also provide a whole lot of other benefits. In addition to being able to see how much energy you’re using, infrared cameras can peer into windows at night and even see through walls! They are used in movie making, industry, energy usage tracking and more! You can even buy infrared cameras to use in your own home for a variety of purposes.

How much does a thermal imaging camera cost?

Thermal imaging video cameras range in price depending on the features and hardware included. The prices above are for cameras with the most commonly requested features. All of these benefits come at a price, but the cost of the best thermal camera still significantly less than what you would spend on any other non-thermal camera.

Who makes thermal imaging?

Numerous companies make quality imaging products, the three we list below being ones we have used and recommend.

Conclusion

The best IR cameras are those that come with features that are the most relevant to the customer. A common misconception is that IR cameras provide the clearest images under low-light conditions. That’s not the case. Those IR cameras that are equipped with a good HD or high definition recording system produce the clearest images under all kinds of lighting conditions. Counter to this, IR technology only exposes the images to make them visible to the human eye. The resulting images are usually of poor quality since the images are more susceptible to the influence of heat and cold. All round, when it comes to IR cameras, it’s important to buy the best system that produces the clearest picture.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Nest Cam IndoorBest OverallNest Cam Indoor
Blink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security CameraBudget PickBlink XT2 Outdoor/Indoor Smart Security Camera
Arlo Pro 3 Spotlight CameraUpgrade PickArlo Pro 3 Spotlight Camera