Shopping for the best HVAC infrared thermometer?
You’ve come to the right place.
A good infrared thermometer allows you to check the temperature of anything you point it at while standing at a safe distance.
For HVAC technicians, they are a handy and time-saving gadget that allows them to measure the temperature of various equipment from afar. With one of these at hand, no technician has to climb the ladder just to take a temperature reading.
This article includes a list of the best infrared thermometers for HVAC.
Since the field is all about temperature control, a temperature change as minute as 1°F can mean a drastic change in the equipment setting and compliance with HVAC regulations. That’s why this least exciting piece of equipment is very special in this industry.
Who Needs an HVAC Infrared Thermometer?
An HVAC thermometer is a handy device for HVAC professionals. But you can also use it around your home for at-home maintenance. It will help you address minor issues before they become a huge problem. Here are some instances where you would need an HVAC thermometer:
Automotive repair involves dealing with hot engines. Using an HVAC infrared thermometer for this purpose allows you to detect problems inside a hot engine. This way, you don’t need to take apart the entire engine; instead, you can work on the component having temperature problems.
Finding weak spots in insulation
HVAC thermometers are an excellent tool for detecting weak spots in your thermal insulation. It shows you where the insulation is weak or has holes.
Weak insulation makes your home lose heat during winters and let it in during winters, so your HVAC system has to overwork, increasing your energy bills in the process. So, it is important to address this issue.
HVAC professionals rely on these thermometers to check housings, moving parts, and other components for temperature changes. Such changes indicate underlying problems, so they use this information to schedule repair or replacement before the issue causes the equipment to fail.
An HVAC infrared thermometer is also needed to monitor different electrical appliances for room balancing and quick energy audits.
They make accessing elevated vents and returns much easier. Professionals also use these to check the temperature of HVAC components for better building control.
What’s In This Buying Guide
In this buying guide, we list the best HVAC thermometers that you should definitely chedk out. All the models we chose are durable units with solid customer feedback backing them up.
We further explain how to choose the right infrared thermometer for your HVAC application and discuss their limitations.
Lastly, an FAQ section addresses common queries buyers have.
Best HVAC Infrared Thermometers
Disclaimer: All links below go to Amazon.com
Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 774
-20 to +932 degrees Fahrenheit
FDA Approved for Humans
FLUKE-561 HVAC Pro Infrared Thermometer
Best for Home Inspection
-40°F to 1022°F
FDA Approved for Humans
Extech IRT600 Dual Laser IR
Best For DIY Inspection
-22 to 662 °F
FDA Approved for Humans
ennoLogic infrared Temperature Gun
Best for Detecting Leaks
-58°F to 1922°F
FDA Approved for Humans
Fluke 62 Max
Best for HVAC Professionals
-30 to 500°F
FDA Approved for Humans
Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 774 is the best for HVAC inspections because of its broad temperature range, fixed emissivity, accuracy, and unit change support. It can measure surface temperatures in both °C and °F. It is also easy to switch between both scales.
The dual rotating laser also helps you aim better. And it displays the results in as little as 0.5 seconds.
- Features an easy-to-read, back-lit display
- Dual rotating lasers for better spot aiming accuracy
- Shows results in just 0.5 seconds
- Auto shutoff feature for extended battery life
- Accuracy is low at +-2%
- Not suitable for humans and animals
The Etekcity 774 is certainly one of the cheapest bare-bones digital infrared thermometers on the market, but it gets the job done satisfactorily. And it has amazing user feedback.
The 774 allows you to safely and accurately measure the temperatures of objects, whether near or far. It has a distance spot ratio of 12:1 and functions at a distance range of 12 to 48 inches.
Although it is FDA-approved, you cannot use this industrial model on humans and animals. Even if you do so, it will give an inaccurate reading.
A good thing about the Etekcity 774 is its built-in laser. You can precisely hone it on the specific spot to measure its temperature. It has a large temperature range and can function at greater distances. You can also choose the temperature unit (°C or °F) in which it will display the results.
And you also don’t need to wait long for them. The infrared thermometer has a response time of ≤500ms and can hold the results for up to 15 seconds.
Issues & Limitations
From a price point of view, there is nothing much to complain about. The Etekcity 774 has solid customer feedback backing it up, but there are some QC issues.
The build quality is not as sturdy as some top-of-the-line models. But Etekcity follows it up with a 2-year warranty coverage under which you can have your device replaced if there are any problems with it. And if you choose to order from Amazon, you are also eligible for a 30-day no-questions-asked return.
We are also worried about the +/-2% accuracy, but considering the price, you won’t find any other model as accurate as this one.
Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 774 is our top pick because it is affordable, basic, and very easy to use. With a 12:1 distance spot ratio, large distance coverage, and wide temperature sensitivity, you can’t go wrong with purchasing it.
If you want to conduct a home inspection to improve your HVAC system's efficiency, we recommend the FLUKE-561. It is equipped with a dual infrared and thermocouple for user-friendliness. You can use it to measure temperatures both up close and afar.
The 561 has a broad temperature range and a lightweight, ergonomic design.
- Comes with dual infrared and thermocouple mode for better usability
- Displays reliable and accurate results quickly
- Can evaluate temperature with or without making contact
- Supports a broad range of temperatures
- Compact, lightweight, and ergonomically designed
- Instructions for operation are somewhat lacking
- You can only set emissivity at low, medium, or high
This IR thermometer set from Fluke is a complete solution for measuring temperatures on HVAC equipment. You can use it for a variety of mechanical, industrial, and electrical purposes.
In particular, it is great for homeowners who want to inspect the different HVAC appliances around their house to ensure proper functioning. It is designed to be extremely accurate for both contact and contactless measurements.
With a built-in probe, the Fluke-561 ensures efficiency in all kinds of applications. It has a wide temperature measurement range of -40 to 1022°F, making it useful for many temperature measuring applications.
The 561 features a thermocouple pipe probe with a hook-and-loop fastener for simple handling. You can use the probe when you want to take contact measurements and use it as an IR gun for contactless measurements on HVAC vents.
We also like the included sturdy case. Although the device itself has a rugged design, the Fluke 561 comes with a high-quality carrying case for safe transportation.
Issues & Limitations
You cannot use the Fluke 561 to determine the internal temperature of any object, which is possible with a thermal imaging camera. You can only use it to measure the surface temperature. Also, it has adjustable emissivity, but you can only set it at low, medium, or high - there is no in-between.
And although the device is easy to figure out, the instructions provided in the manual are not very comprehensive, especially the part where it explains how to switch between °C and °F.
As is expected from Fluke, the 561 is accurate, reliable, and long-lasting and is great for home inspections. You can use it to evaluate the temperature of both animate and inanimate objects.
It has a long battery life and is backed by a solid 2-year warranty, making it a dependable unit for any professional.
If you want the best value for your money, look into getting the Extech IRT600. This ergonomic and lightweight model delivers accurate results within a second.
You can use it to take temperature readings of various HVAC appliances around your home. It also calculates the Dew Point and warns you if the conditions are favorable for mold growth.
- Operates on a dual laser spot identification technique
- Can take continuous readings on the lock mode
- Features adjustable emissivity for accurate readings
- Equipped with a customizable alarm setting for low and high temperatures
- Sturdy, ergonomic, and very easy to use
- Cannot upload readings on a computer
- Low accuracy (±3.5%)
The Extech IRT600 IR thermometer is a good choice for DIY applications because it has a fast response time of 15 ms.
It features a dual laser design that converges into a spot of an inch. You also can set it on the lock position to obtain a continuous reading.
The IRT600 features a trigger and handle design for a natural and comfortable hold. It is ergonomic and lightweight, so it doesn’t tire out the hand. It features double-molded housing and comes with a carry case for added durability.
The Extech device functions on a 9V battery and displays the results in a back-lit LCD display. The background is white, so you can easily read the output.
Finally, the IRT600 allows you to switch between °C and °F and has an emissivity adjustment from 0.10 to 1.00, allowing it to correctly measure surfaces of varying textures.
Issues & Limitations
While we do like the IRT600, it lets us down with its low accuracy of +/- 3.5%. However, considering the price and features, we think that you will be hard-pressed to find a similar model.
We really like its continuous measurement feature in lock mode, but it’s impossible to upload its readings to a computer. So you will have to record the results manually to be able to show them later.
And finally, the Extech IRT600 cannot take accurate temperature measurements of humans and animals.
The Extech IRT600 has a broad sensitivity range and is suitable for both professional and home uses. It displays accurate results that are easy to read on a large display. It is also lightweight, ergonomic, and easy to use, making it an option worth considering.
The ennoLogic temperature gun supports point-and-shoot functionality that allows you to detect the temperature differences between the walls to detect insulation leaks. It can also help detect leaking appliances.
Even though the ennoLogic temperature gun costs half as much as some of the best HVAC infrared thermometers, it delivers similar accuracy and features as any of those.
- Comes with a holster for easy handling and usage
- Dual thermal laser improves accuracy
- Backlit digital display is easy to read
- Unit is durable and well-made
- Adjustable emissivity
- Also suitable for checking cooling systems, catalytic converters, & brake systems
- Distance-to-spot ratio is not the best
- Battery pocket is difficult to shut
The ennoLogic infrared Temperature Gun is easy to use with its point-and-shoot functionality. It is a great option for those who want to inspect their HVAC system for leaks.
It is solidly built with a reinforced plastic body that won’t break even if it falls several times. And it comes with a 10-year warranty.
But what’s more impressive is the temperature range. The ennoLogic temperature gun can evaluate temperatures from -58°F to 1922°F, making it suitable for a variety of uses. You can also toggle between °C and °F measurements.
Despite the smaller 10:1 distance-to-spot ratio, the ennoLogic temperature gun is safe to use. Plus, the included holster allows you to attach it to your hip for more convenience.
Issues & Limitations
Although the ennoLogic temperature gun is suitable for a variety of applications, there is one field where this amazing unit stutters - the medical field. It complies with FDA guidelines, but the ± 3.5% accuracy means it cannot accurately determine whether a person has a fever or not.
And while it is designed with user comfort in mind, the battery pocket is a bit problematic. The battery is easy to access and replace, but putting the lid back on is difficult to address hurriedly.
The ennoLogic infrared thermometer is sturdy, affordable, and easy to use. You can use it for a variety of purposes, such as checking your car’s brake system and the catalytic converter, and get accurate results every time. And if you run into any problems, you can benefit from the 10-year warranty.
5. Best for HVAC Professionals: Fluke 62 Max
Not for nothing is Fluke the expert in measurement tools. The Fluke 62 Max Infrared Thermometer is the best in its category for the on-the-job needs of any HVAC professional.
Despite being the company’s budget model, the Fluke 62 is a good choice for HVAC professionals for its durability, compact design, and easy maneuverability.
It has a wide temperature measurement range with integrated Hi and Low alarms that let you know when temperatures exceed beyond safe limits.
The 62 Max boasts an ergonomic design that fits your palm well. Plus, the backlit screen makes it easy to read data, even in the dark.
- IP54-rated for dust and water resistance
- Rugged built passed a 3-meter drop test
- Designed to fit your palm for a natural hold
- Compact and lightweight design easily fits inside most toolboxes
- Hi and Lo alarms for rapid display of measurements outside the limits
- Not suitable for medical usage
- User manual is terribly written
The Fluke 62 Max Infrared Thermometer is the kind of device that you can carry around with you on a construction site and not worry about banging and breaking it.
It features a sturdy build capable of withstanding a 3-meter drop. It is further protected by IP54-rated protection for dust and water resistance. It is shock-proof, dust-proof, and waterproof.
The Fluke 62 features a large, back-lit display, which makes reading the results easy. With a temperature range of -30 to 500°F, you can use it for a variety of purposes.
Whether you are a professional who needs to take temperatures regularly or a curious DIYer who loves to play with gadgets, this is a must-have for your toolbox.
Issues & Limitations
Although the Fluke 62 thermometer does not have any serious issues, we did notice that the instructions in the user manual are very contraindicating and confusing. The device itself is pretty easy to use, but the directions make it look very difficult.
We also have issues with the packaging it is delivered in. It is shabby and does not ensure the safety of the device. It looks like Fluke wants to challenge their own QC and test the unit with such unsatisfactory and risky packaging.
If you are looking for an all-purpose thermometer that can cater to all your professional needs, look into getting one of these. It is thoughtfully designed with an ergonomic design and sturdy build.
You can use it for all applications except medical. It responds quickly and displays accurate results in a short time, making it a worthy contender.
Infrared thermometers are very useful when used the right way for the right applications. They give fast results without making contact with objects.
In HVAC work, they play a vital role by measuring drafts and insulation damage, monitoring cooling systems, and picking up hot spots in electrical systems. But they have their fair share of limitations, too. These include:
Cannot Take Measurements of Liquids or Gases
While it is ideal for taking a contactless temperature measurement of a solid, an infrared thermometer cannot take measurements of solids and liquids.
The radiation can’t make proper contact, so it gives a different reading of the same sample every time.
Cannot Pass Through Glass
While other visible rays of light can pass through glass, infrared waves cannot. Even if you point one of these at a window, it will show you the window pane's temperature and not of the object behind it.
Radio Frequencies Can Interfere With the Results
Radio frequencies temporarily affect the performance of an infrared HVAC thermometer. When there is an electromagnetic device nearby of three volts or higher strength, it interferes with the results. So be sure to be wary of this when using it near such devices.
Air Particles Can Affect its Accuracy
Different pollutants and air particles such as frost, dust, moisture, fog, or smoke have a negative impact on an infrared thermometer’s performance. When using it under such conditions, double-check the results to be sure.
Can Only Measure Surface Temperatures
Contrary to what most people believe, an infrared thermometer does not measure the internal temperature of some materials.
They accurately show the temperature of the surface but may not reach far inside the material to measure and display its internal temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you mean by an HVAC infrared thermometer, and how does it function?
An HVAC infrared thermometer is your regular infrared laser thermometer that you can use for HVAC applications. It is a handy device for HVAC technicians while inspecting different components of the HVAC equipment.
They take the surface temperature measurements of hard-to-reach, electrically live, rotating, or excessively hot targets.
They save time that technicians would otherwise spend in taking different temperature measurements by displaying the results within seconds.
Just like the name suggests, infrared thermometers function with infrared light. Like visible light, infrared light rays can also be absorbed, reflected, and focused.
Infrared thermometers are handheld devices that use a lens to focus the infrared rays from different objects onto a sensor.
The sensor measures their intensity by absorbing the rays and converts them into an electrical signal. The device then processes the signal and displays a temperature readout.
The more intense the signal, the higher the temperature.
Is an HVAC thermometer worth it?
Yes, an HVAC thermometer is definitely worth it. You can use it to take temperature measurements at a distance, so it can have a relatively accurate measurement without coming in contact with the object you are measuring.
It is a practical solution for measuring temperature, especially when an object is out of reach.
In the HVAC field, professionals are often required to measure the warmth of different components in order to diagnose and troubleshoot HVAC equipment.
Whether a component is unbearably hot, electrically live, or simply out of reach, HVAC thermometers can evaluate its temperature within seconds, saving precious time and displaying accurate results.
How to buy a good contactless medical thermometer?
A contactless thermometer is a medical device used to measure body temperature without touching the patient.
Since fever is a common symptom in many infectious diseases, a contactless thermometer is a reasonable solution to avoid spread. Here are some features to look for in a good contactless medical thermometer:
The most important feature of a contactless thermometer is its accuracy. For medical examinations, you need a thermometer that is extremely precise and accurate.
An inaccurate reading can often lead to issues. That's why you should pay high priority to the accuracy of your contactless medical thermometer.
Emissivity describes how much infrared rays a contactless medical thermometer can emit at any one time. The amount of energy it can put out determines its ability to measure different materials.
If you want a good contactless thermometer, choose a unit that allows you to adjust its emissivity. By adjusting its emissivity, you can compensate for the least energy.
The range of a contactless thermometer determines what applications you can use it for. A good contactless medical thermometer has a temperature range of 32.0-42.9°C or 89.6-109.2°F.
A contactless medical thermometer, in general, should have a rugged and durable design. Since you will be using it on numerous patients, you need a model that is both easy to hold and use.
Furthermore, the lens should be of good quality; otherwise, it can crack with rough handling.
A model with a back-lit display is an ideal choice. Since you will be working in varying circumstances, such a model usually comes in handy as it is fairly easy to read.A bigger display is also a major plus point.
Thermometers that are quicker to read are generally better for medical examinations. When you have numerous other vitals to check, measuring temperature is the last thing you want to be spending your time on. That’s why you should choose a model that displays results almost immediately.
Can an HVAC IR thermometer measure human body temperature?
Yes, an HVAC thermometer can absolutely measure human body temperature. Most infrared thermometers share a similar design, but they feature different temperature ranges.
Medical IR thermometers usually have a low-temperature range, while an HVAC IR thermometer has a higher temperature range. But its range includes that of a medical IR thermometer, so it can easily pick up the temperature of a human body.
Still, some models suggest otherwise, so it’s better to check the user manual first and whether the device is FDA-approved or not.
How Accurate is an HVAC IR Thermometer?
An HVAC thermometer is a relatively accurate device; however, its accuracy greatly depends upon its distance-to-spot ratio (D/S ratio).
It indicates the maximum distance from where the thermometer can measure temperature.The bigger the D/S ratio, the farther your IR thermometer can measure from and the accurate your temperature reading will be.
Recent studies prove that an HVAC IR thermometer is as accurate as a probe or contact thermometer when used correctly.
IR thermometers usually have an accuracy of ±3 degrees, so your measured temperature could be off by more or less 3 degrees.
What is the max temperature that an HVAC thermometer can measure?
HVAC IR thermometers have a maximum temperature read-out range starting from a few hundred degrees Fahrenheit to several thousand degrees Fahrenheit.
With faulty HVAC equipment developing high temperatures, these thermometers must have a high temperature range in order to accurately evaluate the temperature of various components. That’s why they are a huge hit amongst most HVAC technicians.
Final Verdict: Which is the Best Infrared Thermometer HVAC
After going over the different models and studying their features, we think that Etekcity Infrared Thermometer 774 is the best infrared thermometer for HVAC.
If that doesn’t fit the bill for you, take a look at the FLUKE-561 561 HVAC Pro Infrared Thermometer for its outstanding performance.
And, if you want an affordable model, go for the
Fluke 62 Max Infrared Thermometer.