The best infrared thermometers allow you to take highly accurate readings from a safe distance over a broad temperature range. Then having ergonomic grip, a readable screen, and rapid temperature measurements are icing on their cake.
For any type of measurement at all, be it temperature or not, accuracy is vital. Nothing beats reproducible readings. This is why the best infrared thermometers are known for accuracy.
Being a non-contact tool for measuring surface temperature, it is important that infrared thermometers maintain accuracy over long distances. This is why the best infrared thermometer usually has a high distance-to-spot ratio. A high distance-to-spot ratio indicates higher precision when IR thermometers measure temperatures from farther distances.
Then of course, having a firm, comfortable grip when handling IR thermometers makes a lot of sense. Also, getting temperature readings very fast and being able to read the readings clearly boost the infrared thermometer gun experience.
Best Infrared Thermometers At a Glance
- Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 1025D – Overall best infrared thermometer
- Fluke 62 Max Industrial IR Thermometer – Lowest error margin
- Taylor Precision Products Splash-Proof Dual Temperature Infrared/Thermocouple Thermometer – Portable IR thermometer
- Hti-Xintai Higher Resolution 320 x 240 IR Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera – Rechargeable laser infrared thermometer
- Etekcity Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun for Cooking – Ergonomic grip
- KIZEN Infrared Thermometer Gun – Budget laser infrared thermometer
- Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 774 – Rapid temperature reading
- ennoLogic Temperature Gun – Widest temperature measuring range
Our Best Infrared Thermometer Reviews
Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 1025D
The Etekcity 1025D offers all the best features you’d expect to find in the best infrared thermometer. From its distance-to-spot ratio to its response time, error margin, and temperature range, it has everything.
Distance-to-Spot Ratio (D:S ratio)
When it comes to D:S ratio, this device has some of the best offerings in the market. Its 12:1 is one of the best D:S ratio you’ll find within its price range.
With its D:S ratio, this device allows you to measure the temperature from a 1-inch spot while standing up to 12 inches away. Beyond 12 inches, the accuracy may start to drop as the measurement spot grows bigger.
Margin of Error
This product has a margin of error of ±2%, which is pretty great. You can be almost sure that every reading is never 0.02 units off the actual temperature. So, you are almost always getting great results.
While it has a very good margin of error, the Fluke 62 max sometimes one ups the Etekcity 1025D when it comes to accuracy. That doesn’t minimize the overall quality of this product, however.
You can measure temperatures from around -58 to 1022℉ and -50 to 550℃ with this device. Not the highest in our review, but still topnotch. If you want wider temperature ranges, check out the Etekcity Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun for Cooking, KIZEN, Etekcity 1080, and ennoLogic.
With a response time less than 500ms, this device returns results almost instantaneously. None of the other infrared thermometers offer faster response times.
The 1025D has adjustable emissivity settings. This is good news because it gives you the flexibility to use it on various materials.
Its emissivity range falls between 0.1 and 1.0. So, be it metal, brick, wood, brass, water, or fiberboard, this product can take its measurement.
The Etekcity 1025D will come in handy for cooking, construction, auto repair, HVAC installation, electrical works, and more. However, it is not suitable for human use.
Whether you want the result in degrees Celsius or degrees Fahrenheit, this thermometer gun works for you.
Besides all we’ve highlighted so far, the 1025D comes with a LCD backlit display screen. So, you can view the readings under various lighting conditions.
It uses dual lasers, so it is easier to pick a spot on the target object. It also has a voltage tester, if you ever need that extra feature.
- Rapid result display
- High accuracy
- Broad range of measurement
- High D:S ratio
- Emissivity is adjustable
- Shows results in ℃ and ℉
- Batteries are not rechargeable
Also, IR thermometer can be helpful for your wood burning stove to measure the heat.
Fluke 62 MAX Industrial IR Thermometer
When it comes to accurate readings, Fluke 62 Max takes the win. But beyond that, it offers a fair D:S ratio, rapid response time, adjustable emissivity, and ergonomic grip.
With a D:S ratio of 10:1, this brand offers one of the lowest measurement distance of all the infrared thermometers in this review. But even at that, the ratio is not bad.
You can expect to measure a 1-inch spot from about 10 inches. When you think of it, this should be a good enough distance for many instances where you’ll need to measure surface temperatures.
Margin of Error
With a margin of error of around ±1.5% or 1.5℃ (the higher of the two), the Fluke 62 Max offers us the best degree of accuracy in this review. Going by its margin of error, you can always expect that the readings from this infrared temperature gun will never be 1.5 units higher or lower than the actual value.
While it isn’t the lowest, the range within this IR thermometer measures temperature is not too impressive. The range of 30 – 500℃ (-22 – 932℉) could be better. But under most of the conditions in which you’ll use it, that range would suffice.
The response time of this device is on par with the Etekcity 1025D, which is pretty impressive. More times than not, you get the temperature readings in less 500ms.
Thanks to its emissivity being adjustable, this IR thermometer is pretty versatile. You get an emissivity range of 0.1 to 1.0, so you can tune it to suit pretty much any type of material.
As expected, you can use this device for various purposes, including cooking, electrical work, HVAC repair & installation, mechanical purposes, and much more.
But even with its broad application, you should not use it for measuring human body temperature.
This thermometer only displays results in ℃. So, you may have to do the conversion to ℉ by yourself.
With this laser thermometer, you get a large backlit LCD display, which makes result viewing easy in dark and bright conditions. You also get a spectral response between 8 to 14 microns, indicating a fairly high sensitivity.
- High accuracy.
- The response time is less than 500ms at least 9 out of 10 times.
- Fair range of measurement
- Ergonomic handle
- Doesn’t have ℃ to ℉ switching.
Taylor Precision Products Splash-Proof Dual Temperature Infrared/Thermocouple Thermometer
If portability is top of your priority list, this IR thermometer is the one for you. Weighing just 4.8 ounces and measuring 0.47 inches in length, there’s nothing smaller in this review.
Besides being portable, the Taylor Precision comes with a probe for reading core temperature. It also offers high accuracy, unit switching, and rapid response.
With a D:S ratio of 3:1, this thermometer offers the lowest measurement distance of all the IR thermometers in our review. But then, considering the fact that it is primarily for cooking, the distance-spot ratio may not be so bad.
There are only rare instances where it is safer for you to be more than 3 inches away from the target object.
Margin of Error
Between 32ºF and 149ºF (0ºC and 65ºC), you get a margin of error ± 2℉(1℃), which is fair. But of course, we’ve seen better from some of the other infrared thermometers on our list.
The range of measurement of this device might be the lowest we reviewed. But then, for cooking, a range of -67º – 482ºF and -55ºC – 250ºC is pretty okay.
The response time of the Taylor Precision Products Dual Temperature Thermometer – 500 ms – is pretty okay. It meets the industry standard.
Emissivity is adjustable. So, we know for sure that it can work on various materials, making it versatile.
It is primarily used for cooking.
When using this, you do not have manually convert from ℃ to ℉ or vice-versa because it comes with unit switching.
Besides being an IR thermometer, this device is also a probe thermometer. The foldable stem by the side measures core temperature using a thermocouple. So, while the others in this review cannot measure food doneness, this one can.
The thermocouple thermometer has a range of -67º – 626ºF and -55ºC – 330ºC. Then from 14º to 149ºF (-10º to 65ºC), it’s margin of error is ± 1ºF (0.6ºC) – more than decent.
The thermometer is IP65 rated – a mark of high durability. It also comes with an auto-off feature, which can help preserve battery life.
- Unit conversion
- The response time is on par with the standard.
- It comes with a probe thermometer for measuring core temperature.
- Emissivity can be adjusted.
- Low distance-spot ratio
- The range of temperature measurement could be better.
Hti-Xintai Higher Resolution 320 x 240 IR Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera
The Hti-Xintai sets itself apart from the rest with its rechargeable battery. But besides being rechargeable, it has a good margin of error, variable emissivity, and unit conversion. So, overall, it is a standard product.
With a distance-spot ration of around 10:1, you can get highly precise measurements when using this device within 10 inches of the target. While this is not bad, it could be better especially when you consider the price.
Margin of Error
A ±2% (or ±2℃) margin of error is great; it matches what the best infrared thermometer in our review offers. We reviewed another product with a better margin of error. But we don’t think this product’s margin of error is a dealbreaker for it.
Now, when it comes to the measuring range, there wasn’t much to impress us. The Hti-Xintai only does than the Taylor Precision thermometer with its -4 – 572℉ range.
It has an average response time of 500 ms – pretty much the standard.
The emissivity can be adjusted between 0.01 and 1.0 – a broader emissivity range than any of the other IR thermometers we reviewed.
Unsurprisingly, the broad emissivity range of this product allows usage in pipeline, HVAC, electric, and auto repairs. You may also use it for cooking.
You can switch between degree Celsius and Fahrenheit. So, you do not have to do any manual calculation.
It has a wavelength range of 8 to 14 microns, making it highly sensitive to infrared radiation. Then it runs on a rechargeable battery that offers a battery life of around 2 to 3 hours when fully charged.
This device uses a TFT screen, which is pretty much an advanced LCD. So, when it comes to display, none of the other products comes close.
The TFT screen is a necessity for this product as it not only displays temperature results, but it also shows an infrared image of the target.
Besides using a rechargeable battery, another feature that makes this thermometer stand out is its storage. With a 3GB memory space, you can store as many as 15,000 images.
- It runs on a rechargeable battery.
- Has high accuracy
- Average distance-spot ratio
- Emissivity can be varied
- Has storage for infrared images
- High-quality display
- Allows measurement in Celsius and Fahrenheit
- It would have been much better with a wider range.
Etekcity Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun for Cooking
The Etekcity Thermometer excels on pretty much every front. But what we love the most about it is its ergonomic design. Of course, beyond the design, the reading range is impressive, distance-spot ratio is great, response time is okay, and margin of error is decent.
With a distance-spot ratio of 12:1, this thermometer is in the midst of the best thermometers in our review. The relatively high D:S ratio affords you some extra room when measuring temperature.
Margin of Error
The ±2% margin of error of this thermometer is more than decent, especially when you consider the price. The results you get with this device will never be truly far from the correct temperature.
The Etekcity Thermometer for Cooking offers the joint second-highest range in this review. It can measure between -58 and 1130℉ (-50 and 610℃).
The high measurement range coupled with the distance-spot ratio widen the versatility of this device. So, if you ever needed a laser temperature gun for multiple purposes, this could fit the bill.
The average response time with this product is around 500ms. So, result pretty much comes in instantaneously.
Its emissivity can be varied between 0.1 and 1.0. This further increases the number of ways you can use it.
This product is primarily for household usage – cooking, minor repairs, baking, barbecuing, and the likes. But you could use it for non-domestic purposes too – as long as you adjust the emissivity accordingly.
This device is for inanimate objects only. So, do not use it for humans.
This thermometer measures in Fahrenheit and Celsius.
It comes with a brightly-lit LCD screen and a comfortable hand grip for easy use.
- It is primed for accurate reading.
- Measures a broad range of temperature
- The distance-spot ratio is impressive.
- Response time is decent
- You can change the emissivity across a wide range.
- The hand grip is very comfortable.
- The accuracy specified by the manufacturer is sometimes not applicable to real use cases.
KIZEN Infrared Thermometer Gun
If you want a temperature gun that offers accurate temperature measurements, broad reading range, good distance-spot ratio, variable emissivity, and rapid response while spending within a budget, consider this product.
The KIZEN has a distance-spot ration of 12:1 – the same as the best products in our review. With this D:S ratio, you can surely use this thermometer for various non-similar purposes.
Margin of Error
This device has a margin of error around ±2 – ±2.5%. While this is not far from what many of the others offer, it could be better. Still, for a budget device, we’ll take it.
The range of temperature the KIZEN Infrared Thermometer Gun can measure is up there with the best. It can measure between -58ºF and 1112ºF (-50ºC and 600ºC) – only three of the other thermometers in this review offer better.
This product’s response time of 500ms is the same we’ve seen with most infrared thermometers in this review. So, we could just say this device meets the standard response time.
You get adjustable emissivity within range 0.1 to 1.0. This allows you to tailor the efficiency with which the target object’s surface emits thermal energy. In essence, you can improve the chances of getting an accurate reading, according to the target material.
This product is not suitable for use on humans. But you can use it for auto repairs, cooking, HVAC installation, and on pretty much any inanimate object.
With this device, you are not stuck with one unit of temperature; you can do things in Celsius and Fahrenheit.
It uses a backlit LCD screen. So, you can readily see the output even when it’s dark.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Broad measurement range
- Emissivity can be varied across a broad range
- Good distance-spot ratio
- Rapid response
- The accuracy could be higher.
Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 774
The Etekcity 774 offers one of the top three fastest response times in our review. So, if you need speed, check it out.
Beyond its fast response time, this product has an impressive distance-spot ration and support for Celsius and Fahrenheit.
The distance-spot ratio of 12:1 is impressive as it is up there amongst the best in this review. In fact, none of the products do better than this.
Margin of Error
The margin of error of device stands at around ±2 – ±2.5%, which is within the alley of all we’ve seen so far.
Temperature Measurement Range
The reading range is not so impressive, but it is still okay. For cooking, baking, testing home appliances, and auto repairs, -58 to 716 ℉ (- 50 to 380 ℃) should suffice.
With an average response time of less than 500ms, Etekcity 774 offers some of the fast result output of most IR thermometers.
This product has a fixed emissivity setting of 0.95. So, it may not be suitable beyond domestic purposes.
With the Eteckcity 774, there’s unit conversion. So, you do not have to worry about doing the calculation yourself.
Like many others, it uses a backlit LCD screen. This makes it readable in various lighting conditions.
- Rapid result output
- Impressive distance-spot ratio
- Comes with unit conversion
- Fixed emissivity setting
- Limited reading range
ennoLogic Temperature Gun
Having the widest margin of error may have chipped some block of its accuracy. But when it comes to response speed, measurement range, and distance-spot ratio, the ennoLogic Temperature Gun excels.
While it does not have the highest distance-spot ratio, a D:S ratio of 10:1 is still up there amongst the best. But since the manufacturer primarily recommends it for cooking, the D:S ratio is okay.
Margin of Error
With a margin of error of ±3.5%, the ennoLogic has the lowest accuracy in the review. But since it won’t be used for sensitive readings like human temperature, it’s not too much of a big deal.
Temperature Reading Range
Since it measures between -58 and 1202℉ (-50°C to 650°C), it offers the broadest temperature reading range in this review. So, whether you’re going for very high temperature reading capacity or very low, this is more likely to fit than the rest.
It has a response time of 500ms, which is as swift as we’ve seen in our infrared thermometer reviews so far.
This thermometer comes with adjustable emissivity. So, you can vary emissivity depending on the type of material you are working with. This improves versatility alongside the reading range and D:S ratio.
This product is primarily for cooking. But then, you may also use it for auto repairs, HVAC installation, plumbing, and other similar purposes.
You get the option to work in Celsius or Fahrenheit. So, you never have to manually convert the results.
The ennoLogic uses dual lasers, so picking out a spot on the target object is less complicated than it would normally be.
- Uses dual lasers for easy pointing
- Broad measurement range
- Rapid response
- Emissivity is not fixed
- Supports readings in ℃ and ℉
- The accuracy could be better.
Factors to Consider When Buying an Infrared Thermometer
Temperature Measuring Range
The temperature range of your IR thermometer is very vital as it affects the possible use cases of the thermometer.
For instance, some gas grills can heat up as high as 1500℉. If your grill plate heats up as high as 1500℉, and you get a thermometer whose upper limit is below 1500℉, you may be unable to use the thermometer with your grill.
Generally, go for products with the widest range. But more specifically, ensure the temp range of your use case falls within that “widest range”.
When it comes to distance-to-spot ratio, go for the highest you can find. A high distance-to-spot ratio leaves less room for variation in the average temperature picked up from the measurement spot. This means that even when taking measuring the temperature from afar, accuracy is not significantly affected.
Intended Use Case
As you may have noticed in our reviews, not all infrared thermometers are suitable for human use. Then again, if your IR thermometer is ideal for inanimate objects, it may not always be the best for all use cases involving inanimate objects. So, check that the product you buy is suitable for the use case most important to you.
From impurities to ambient conditions, various factors can affect the accuracy of surface temperature. So, to ensure that even in the presence of these factors, you’re very close to the accurate temperature readings, opt for thermometers with the lowest margin of error.
Typically, you’ll find thermometers with a 2% or 2℃ margin of error. But if you find something even lower, by all means, go for it if it suits you.
In most cases, IR thermometers have rapid response time. In other words, they display results very fast after computing it. However, to ensure you get the good infrared thermometer, pay attention to the value of the response time – opt for anything 500ms or lower.
Emissivity is basically a measure of the efficiency with which a body emits thermal energy relative to a black body.
Some IR thermometers can vary their emissivity to ensure high efficiency when measuring temp from certain materials. But others have fixed emissivity, so they are only highly-efficient for certain materials.
When buying an IR thermometer, check if the emissivity can be adjusted across a range. This is especially important if you intend to use the thermometer for a broad range of purposes with different materials.
If you intend to use your IR thermometer for just one purpose, a fixed emissivity thermometer would be fine.
Infrared Thermometers FAQs
Why Buy an Infrared Thermometer?
There are many advantages of buying digital infrared thermometers, and most of these advantages are related to their non-contact feature.
For instance, as a cook, you may buy an infrared thermometer because it allows you measure the temperature of your cooking surfaces from a safe distance. Besides, measuring surfaces with a thermometer probe is not ideal. So, IR thermometers are pretty much your only option for such use cases.
Another use of an IR thermometer is measuring the temperature of children. Say you’re trying to take the temperature of a sleeping child, raising the child’s armpit may wake the child. So, to avoid that, you can use an infrared thermometer instead of a conventional thermometer.
Infrared thermometers are also useful over a wide temperature range. Also, they give results faster than regular thermometers.
On the flip side, a non-contact infrared thermometer may not be as accurate as a contact thermometer. This is especially true if the non-contact infrared thermometer has a low distance-to-spot ratio.
IR thermometers cannot take internal temperature measurements. Also, measuring the surface temperature of shiny surfaces can be an issue for them.
How Does an Infrared Thermometer Work?
The principle behind how an infrared thermometer/laser thermometer measures temperature is pretty simple.
Every object with a temperature emits infrared radiation. So, infrared thermometers measure temperatures by collecting infrared rays emitted by an object.
An infrared/laser thermometer will focus emitted radiation towards its thermopile (interconnected thermocouples that convert heat/infrared energy to electrical energy).
After the thermopile converts the incoming infrared radiation to electricity, the IR thermometer measures the electricity and determines the temperature of the object from the amount of electricity generated.
Measuring temperature by using electricity makes sense since there’s a direct correlation between resistance and temperature.
IR thermometers typically give results within seconds. So, they are pretty handy if you want to collect a lot of temp readings within a short period.
Are Infrared Thermometers Safe?
Infrared thermometers are generally safe when used correctly. Worries about the safety of infrared thermometers are typically linked to the belief that these thermometers emit IR radiation. However, as we’ve explained in the previous subheading, IR thermometers do not emit IR radiation. They only measure it.
Also, humans and every other living being emit infrared radiation in the form of heat. So, it is not absolutely harmful.
Another reason people worry about using an infrared thermometer is the laser. Well, the laser in these thermometers are pretty much just for aiming at the target object. The output power is minimal, so the chances of it harming you are near zero.
What Temperatures Do Infrared Thermometers Measure?
IR thermometers measure surface temperatures, and their temperature range can be as low as below 0℉ and as high as 10,000℉.
Since the infrared rays that get to them come from the surface of the target objects, the output temperature they show is surface temperature of the object.
In summary, IR thermometers measure surface temperature but not internal temperature.
When Would a Cook Use an Infrared Thermometer?
A cook may use an infrared thermometer when using a probe thermometer is impossible or not safe. For instance, it’s not possible to measure the temperature of a cooking pan with a probe thermometer. But you can do this with an infrared thermometer.
Since IR thermometers primarily measure surface temperatures, their use in cooking is limited to measuring the temperature of cooking surfaces. So, while they can measure the temperature of a grill, pan, soup, stew, or oven, they cannot measure doneness.
Can You Check Food’s Internal Temperature for Doneness With an Infrared Thermometer?
The doneness of a food is reflected in its internal temperature. But since infrared thermometers only measure surface temperatures, they cannot tell doneness.
How Can You Have an Infrared Thermometer Calibrated?
There are a couple of ways to calibrate an infrared thermometer. One of them involves using a black body.
A black body has an emissivity value of almost one. So, it absorbs ambient infrared energy while primarily emitting only its own infrared energy. In other words, most of the IR rays from a black body are not mixed with ambient IR energy. This makes for high accuracy. Hence, its use in infrared thermometer calibration.
Besides a black body, you can also use an infrared comparator cup or an ice bath to calibrate your infrared thermometer.
Calibrating an Infrared Thermometer Using a Comparator Cup
To calibrate an infrared thermometer with a comparator cup, you’ll need a reference thermometer. The reference/master thermometer is typically a probe.
Once you have the comparator cup, master thermometer, and the infrared thermometer, follow these steps:
- Ensure the room temperature is around 22℃ (71℉). Calibrations done at this temperature are typically more accurate.
- Ensure the comparator cup, master thermometer, and infrared thermometer are free of dirt, debris, and any other thing that can influence the readings.
- Insert the reference thermometer in the comparator cup and leave it to stabilize to the temperature inside the cup. This could take any amount of time, depending on the sensitivity and response of the reference thermometer. But typically a few seconds or minutes should do.
- If the IR thermometer has adjustable emissivity, set it to 0.95. Then once the reference thermometer is stabilized, hold the IR thermometer above the cup and point it straight down into the bottom of the cup. Then take a temperature measurement.
- Record the readings of the reference thermometer and the IR thermometer. Then compare.
- The difference between the readings from both thermometers should be no more than 1℃ (33.8℉).
Calibrating an Infrared Thermometer Using an Ice Bath
- Prepare an ice bath by filling a glass to the brim with ice (preferably crushed ice for more surface area) and adding very cold water to a level just below the ice.
- Stir the bath for a few seconds to create an even temperature.
- Tamp the glass by the side to create a well of water at the top (ensure no ice is floating).
- Adjust the emissivity of your infrared temperature gun to 0.95 or 0.97.
- Hold the IR thermometer above the ice bath, so that its lens points directly to the surface of the ice bath.
- Take a temperature measurement.
- The difference between the result and 32℉ should be within the accuracy specification for your device.