Non-contact infrared thermometers use an infrared scanner to detect the temperature of objects without actually touching them. This can be especially helpful in automotive applications or situations where exposure to the tested object could be harmful. Keep in mind that the reading you get will depend on the emissivity, or reflectiveness, of the object you are measuring. Also, remember that even the best non-contact infrared thermometer is only able to measure the temperature at the surface of the test object, and are not suitable for determining what the internal temperature may be. Important features include the focus ratio, number of lasers, and whether you can adjust the emissivity setting.
The Fluke 62 Max earns its place as the best non-contact infrared thermometer because it uses dual lasers to give you more control over the surface temperature being checked. The ratio is 12:1, which equates to 1 inch for every inches of distance. Fluke is known for their superior quality and attention to detail. This model can measure temperatures from -22 to +1202 degrees Fahrenheit and has an incredible accuracy of within 1%. If you need to to check the difference of temperature between two objects in relatively close proximity, this tool is an excellent choice. Instead of the square 9 volt battery used by some top rated non-contact infrared thermometers, the Fluke 62 Max uses two AA batteries, which do not last as long but are much cheaper to replace. You could use rechargeable batteries for greater savings over time.
There are a couple of minor items that need to be carefully considered with the Fluke 62 Max. The first is that the temperature display is short-lived. After only 5 seconds, the backlit screen will go blank. You can avoid this by switching modes, but as soon as you are idle for a few seconds, the measurement is gone. The second complaint is that the emissivity of the object you are measuring is important, and the device must be set accordingly. The Fluke 62 Max manual does not include a list of material values, which would simplify things, but you can find suitable lists online. If you do not set the emissivity correctly, the relative temperature will not be correct.
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Another excellent “temperature gun” is the Raytek MT6. It differs from the Fluke model by having only a single laser, which means it also has fewer comparison functions. The 10:1 ratio is suitable for most distance temperature measurements, and you will like that the display holds the measurement for 7 seconds. This may not seem like much, but the 2 second difference over the Fluke can save you a lot of surface retesting. The temperature range on the Raytek is -20 to +832 degrees F. The biggest complaint is that the laser scanner does not accurately read reflective surfaces, but this is a result of how lasers work, and not a fault of the scanner. If you are going to scan, for example, a shiny pot, consider placing a strip of masking tape in the area where you will most commonly focus the beam.
The Kintrex IRT0421 combines some of the best features of the Fluke and Raytek models, earning it a spot on this list. With a temperature measuring range of -76 to +932 degrees F, it is a bit more versatile than the Raytek but not quite as accurate. It uses a single laser, so you will not be able to perform automatic spot comparisons. What you will definitely appreciate is that the display holds for 15 seconds after releasing the trigger, more than twice as long as the other top ranked non-contact infrared thermometers. The biggest complaint is that you cannot set the emissivity level, and that means your temperature readings will vary based on the reflectiveness of the object being measured. The more reflective the surface, the less likely it will be that you are accurately measuring the temperature of that object, and you could be getting a reading from whatever is being reflected in the surface.