In this article, we will be talking about the pros and cons of having a thermal imaging security camera installed in your house or business. We will also talk about some of its capabilities and limitations and how using these cameras in the wrong way can end you up in court.
Do I need thermal imaging security cameras? Yes, absolutely. Thermal imaging security cameras can capture crisper and more accurate images compared to regular CCTVs. It also works in different weather conditions and regardless of the light present, it can still produce high-quality images. Do not worry about the price tag because there are models available for every price range.
We will recommend a few brands and products that you can consider getting installed in your houses or businesses, depending on the price ranges and features offered by these models.
All You Need to Know About Thermal Imaging
A Camera Like No Other
A thermal imaging camera is also called an infrared camera, thermographic camera, or a thermal imager. It is a camera that creates an image using radiation from infrared. It forms an image using visible light. These types of cameras are sensitive to wavelength from about 1,000 nanometers to about 14,000 nanometers.
These are different from your usual cameras because normal cameras work on a different system than the thermal imaging cameras. Some cameras cannot take photos in specific lighting conditions (e.g. too dark or too bright setups), and some might not work in different weather conditions.
Cameras That Can See Through Fire and at Night (and More)
Thermal imaging cameras were originally developed for military use during the Korean War. Nowadays, it is used by a lot of people in different fields.
For instance, it is used by firefighters to see through smoke and find people in burning buildings or houses. It is also used to localize hotspots of fires.
Power line maintenance technicians also use these cameras to locate overheating joints and parts. They do this to eliminate potential safety hazards in buildings and establishments.
It is also used by building construction technicians to see heat leaks that will help in improving air conditioning in a building or in a house.
Thermal imaging cameras are also used to detect fever in humans too. That’s why we can always see these cameras installed in airports, to check if arriving passengers are sick. They use it to detect infection from the incoming passengers.
Recently, it has proven useful during the COVID-19 pandemic in airports around the world, to identify people who are suffering from the virus based on their thermal images in these cameras.
A lot of fields use thermal imaging cameras for different reasons, which explains how useful these cameras can be when installed in your houses.
Pros and Cons of Thermal Imaging Cameras
Pro: Can Take Clearer Pictures Like No Other
One of the best qualities of thermal imaging cameras is the ability to capture the best images possible. Thermal cameras can see what the naked eye cannot see. They provide visual clarity in the most challenging conditions.
Security cameras need to capture quality images. With that in mind, thermal cameras can take clear pictures and imagery regardless of lighting conditions.
In terms of using it as security cameras, these cameras can perfectly capture intruders lurking in the perimeters of your yard and you can be alerted immediately should they try to enter your property with as much accuracy as you can expect.
Pro: More Accurate Products and Lesser Worries
These cameras are also known to be beasts in camera technology. Thermal imaging cameras are immune to visual limitations.
What this means is that, regardless of how bright or dark the area is, the thermal camera can still capture high quality images. It also helps in having fewer false alarms since it works on detecting heat radiation.
Capturing accurate images means more security for you and your family. It also means that it can give a higher return on the investment. These cameras can also take photos and videos regardless of weather conditions.
No need to worry if it’s raining outside too hard, because thermal imaging cameras can still manage to capture high quality shots.
Con: Expensive and Can Potentially Cause Lawsuits
On the other hand, thermal imaging cameras are expensive. Not all houses and businesses have it because of its price. Airports and hospitals usually have it rather than simple homes and offices.
They can be a bit pricey compared to normal CCTVs. Cheaper cameras worth $52.99 can be found on Amazon, but the quality might be a bit compromised.
If you’re willing to spend more money for these cameras, there are high quality thermal imaging security cameras worth at least $164 each. Prepare at least $660 if you want to put these on four corners of the house.
Using these cameras can also cause potential lawsuits. The Fourth Amendment protects the people from unreasonable searches and seizures from the government. Since thermal imaging cameras are considered to be too advanced to use in residential areas by some people, they might feel that their privacy is being compromised in exchange for your protection.
Similar cases from 2001 (Kyllo vs. USA) proved that the use of thermal imaging cameras can capture images that might feel invasive in other peoples’ point of view.
Using thermal imaging cameras can also potentially expose you to cameras in an unnecessary manner. The cameras can tell things an average person would not be able to tell if he’s standing outside the house.
For example: it can show those looking at it when people usually go to the bathroom, do some private things in their houses, and other personal stuff.
If you are considering using this in a tight neighborhood, better think twice before having trouble with your neighbors. Make sure that the cameras will be angled properly, not directly capturing anyone’s property, such as a room or a part of their house.
Talk to your neighbors first to see if they are okay with it and what arrangements can be made for both parties’ convenience and security.
Thermal Imaging Security Camera Recommendations
Here are four of the recommended thermal imaging security camera models. These are perfect for every price range, quality, and other redeeming features. Whatever you’re looking for, any of these cameras would be the perfect fit for you.
Swann PIR Bullet Security Camera and Spotlight SWNHD-885MSFB
If you’re willing to spend a lot of money for the best quality of images in your security cameras, this one’s for you.
Priced at $163.870 per piece, this camera uses state-of-the-art thermal sensing. It detects warm moving objects, like people and cars. When combined with an NVR-8580, it sends push notifications real time, warning you more accurately of the potential intrusions. You can be warned of suspicious movement immediately, which saves time and stress.
It is equipped with a siren, a two-way talk, motion lighting, and 4K ultra HD video resolution. It has a viewing angle of 93 degrees. Its color night vision can be up to 115 feet with spotlight on, and B&W night vision can be up to 150 feet in total darkness, and 200 feet in ambient light, meaning the images it can produce are definitely topnotch.
On the other hand, its price tag can be seen as a con because it is a bit expensive. But then again, we already mentioned that thermal imaging security cameras are much pricier than its normal counterparts, so be prepared to spend more money for this type of security camera.
Tonton 5MP PoE IP Bullet Camera Outdoor
A camera that can promise high quality imaging for a fraction of the cost, this camera values affordability and quality. This camera is only for $59.99, available on Amazon.
This camera is an affordable choice for people on the budget but wanting to have the same benefits from thermal imaging security cameras. It works on a PIR Thermal/Motion sensor, which senses up to 32 feet or 45 meters.
It allows the camera to work in complete darkness. With a night vision distance up to 150 feet or 45 meters (total darkness) and up to 200 feet or 60 meters with ambient light, you will be surely getting high quality images in no time.
It uses real-time 30FPS recording rate, meaning you can see very smooth on-screen movement on your cameras. It also has a built-in microphone, a 93-degree viewing angle, and a 5MP video quality. In short: you get what you paid for, and possibly even more.
On the downside, its 5MP video quality is considered lower compared to its pricier counterparts. Since it is also cheaper than the others, its durability might be put into question but according to its reviews on Amazon, it still works fine after some time.
AIHOWS Wireless Battery Powered Security Camera
Combining artificial intelligence with affordability, this camera does a lot of things — with your security its top priority. AIHOWS Wireless Battery Powered Security Camera costs $59.99.
This camera is AI-embedded and able to recognize moving objects from afar. It has an infrared distance of 32 feet. This sends real-time and accurate notifications on your smartphone when connected by an app designed by the same company.
Some of its features include: a live view and two-way audio, which lets you talk to people on the other side of the camera via a phone app, and camera sirens up to 110 dB and spotlight to scare intruders off.
One advantage of this camera is that it is wireless and battery operated, with a slot for an SD card available. This camera is lightweight and easy to use, which makes it perfect for CCTV first timers and those on a budget.
However, this camera needs to be changed of its batteries regularly since this is not the same, just like the other security cameras. The app’s compatibility on some phones might be put in question but the company assures that their apps work on every smartphone possible, and constant developments are always made to ensure their customers get the best out of their products.
Swann Indoor/Outdoor Home Security Camera SWPRO-1080MSFB-US
This is Swann’s much affordable version, but with the same features and even more, priced at $52.32 on Amazon..
This model captures the best images from afar with its 1080p resolution. It is also equipped with a Sensor Warning Light which lets you see color at night up to 32 feet or ten meters. Its infrared night vision lets people see in B&W at night up to 100 feet or 30 meters.
It also has True Heat and Detect technology that every Swann camera has, which sends reliable push notifications and fewer false triggers, ensuring your security with less anxiety. With its sleek and lightweight design, this model is definitely a bang for your buck.
Speaking of cons, since this one particular model is very affordable but does not compromise its quality, it is often sold out from its sellers. If you really want this model, you need to make sure that once it’s available, you would be getting your units or else someone else might get it earlier than you.
What about FLIR?
For those not in the know, FLIR is a brand of thermal camera that is widely considered to be the best on the market.
They are often featured on tech YouTube channels to monitor the heat output of laptops and other electronic devices.
FLIR also has a range of thermal imaging security cameras. I could have included them as a recommendation and I did consider it. However the cheapest ones retail at over $1000.
This is likely a product that if you’re in the market for it, you already know what you looking for. So I decided not to include them in this article.
That being said, they are awesome though.
Let me know on the contact me page, if you want an article written up about FLIR and I will do!
Thermal imaging cameras offer more than your regular CCTV cameras, with its top advantage of taking more accurate imagery regardless of weather conditions or light setups.
Be it in the middle of a hurricane on a summer night or a raging snowstorm with zero visibility, thermal imaging cameras are perfect to provide you security without compromising the quality and accuracy.
Originally meant for the military, a lot of professionals are using these cameras because of the accuracy it provides with the quality of the images captured.
There are different models for different needs, budgets, and requirements, which makes these cameras an essential in house and building security.
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