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perfect prime thermal camera

Perfect Prime IR281 Thermal Camera Review

The Perfect Prime IR281 is a powerful thermal inspection camera that displays clear images to help you locate issues before they become serious problems.

The Perfect Prime IR281 has a clear 2.8-inch touchscreen display that provides a complete live area analysis. You can get the temperature reading of any location in view by simply tapping on the screen.

The camera automatically displays the minimum and maximum temperature readings at all times, which is really handy in HVAC and other leak detection scenarios. 

The IR281 can record pictures as well as videos.  It is fitted with a 32GB microSD card and has a battery life of 3.5 hours. The battery is replaceable.

This thermal camera has an especially wide temperature range of -40C to 330C and is Wi-Fi compatible.

The camera also comes in a guitar-shaped case, which keeps it safe from scratches.

The Perfect Prime is a compact, lightweight device that is easy to hold in hand

The IR281 is controlled using an easy-to-use and extensive menu that lets you set low and high-temperature alarms, emissivity setting, choose between degrees Centigrade or Fahrenheit, and more.

The highly responsive touch screen lets you to view the temperature of any area of the screen as well as of a recorded photo, whether visual or thermal (or an overlay of both).

You can also export thermal data to a CSV file for Excel import or use in other applications.

You can upload the photos and videos to your PC with the help of the provided USB-C. It also comes with a tripod mount.


  • Produces a slightly blurry and noisy picture
  • The cover for the USB port and memory card is a bit flimsy
  • Saving your preferred settings could be simpler
  • It does not come with batteries
  • It comes with a sparse manual
  • The screen does not have enough brightness for outdoor use

Unique Features

perfect prime thermal camera

The Perfect Prime IR281 has a number of features that we find quite impressive, including:

Ease of use

An easy-to-use interface and highly intuitive touch screen make the IR281 very user-friendly. It is lightweight and comes with a handy case to keep your thermal camera safe in your toolbox.

You can easily take pictures or switch to video with the help of a trigger at the back. It also allows you to recover deleted files so you can rest assured that you won’t lose any important photos or videos.

High-sensitivity thermal camera

The thermal sensitivity of this camera goes down to 0.1-degree Celsius, which is quite impressive. Plus, it maintains a close-enough thermal reading even when taken from a distance.

Intuitive touch screen

The IR281 powers up quickly, and you can choose any icon with a simple touch. If you want to find the temperature of any area of a recorded photo, you can just tap on it and get a temperature reading for every pixel.

Great value for money

Although you can find a number of thermal cameras in this price range, the IR281 comes with features like video capability, high thermal sensitivity, and radiometric data, which makes it a worthwhile option.

Issues and concerns

perfect prime thermal camera

Following are some issues with the Perfect Prime IR280 that you should know:

Unclear Manual

This Perfect Prime thermal camera comes with a very sparse manual that does not offer many details. It takes time and effort and a few hit-and-miss button presses to master operating this camera. 

Saving the settings

You can choose your preferred settings by touching the screen, but you will need to press the trigger to save that setting.

However, when you press the trigger, the screen goes back to the main menu, and you will have to press on the symbol on the menu again to continue with your inspection. This can be a bit time-consuming and frustrating.   

Hard to make out the screen in daylight

Many verified users of the IR281 state that it is not suitable for use in daylight, and they found the screen dim and hard to make out when used outside.

Care and maintenance

perfect prime thermal camera

Cleaning your thermal camera is vital as it removes excess oils and dirt that may interfere with image or measurement accuracy.

However, it is not necessary to clean your camera before every use, and you should only clean it when there are visible fingerprints or dirt on it.

Since the Perfect Prime IR281 comes with a handy case, it requires very little care and maintenance. If you see dirt on your camera, you can easily remove it by blowing gently on it or using a lens cleaning brush.

Use a clean, soft cotton cloth to wipe the body of your camera. You can also use a cotton ball or a lens tissue with a commercial lens cleaner to wipe the lens. 


The Perfect Prime IR281 has a 60-day money-back guarantee. If you are not satisfied with this product, you can easily return it for a full refund.


  • 2.8-inch display TFT IPS panel
  • CMOS resolution: 640 x 480
  • Thermal Resolution 206 x 156 pixels (32,136 pixels)
  • Video recording
  • Radiometric Data exportable as CSV file
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Livestream to PC monitor
  • Android operating system
  • Temperature range from -40o Fahrenheit to 626o Fahrenheit
  • Temperature Accuracy: +/- 2% or +/- 2-degree Celsius
  • Emissivity: 0.1-1.0

Comparing the Perfect Prime IR281 with Perfect Prime IR280

perfect prime thermal camera

The Perfect Prime IR281 is an upgrade from the Perfect Prime IR280, but there are significant differences between the two.

Here is how the two devices compare:


Both thermal cameras share a similar design with four buttons in the front, and both the visual camera and the infrared camera, together with the trigger, are designed at the back.

Both devices are also Android-based with a simple user interface. The capability of both IR281 and IR280 to record radiometric data is a significant advantage for people looking for a deeper analysis of the recorded images/videos.  

The menu icons are self-explanatory, making these thermal cameras very easy to use. You can walk around the room or your cabin with the camera in your hand and get accurate readings. 


The IR281 comes with a carry case to protect it from scratches, while the IR280 does not come with a carry case.

The IR281 is also designed with a higher thermal resolution (206x156) than IR280 (32x32). The IR281 also features a higher thermal sensitivity compared to IR280. 

Where to Buy

If you’re interested in the Perfect Prime IR281, you can get it from Amazon.

About the Author Rob Carson

I work in commercial construction, in Dallas, TX.

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