Infrared (IR) camera technology is similar to a handheld infrared thermometer, which can be used to measure the temperature, but only at a specific point. The advantage of an IR camera is its ability to display all temperatures within a camera field of view, making it easier to identify temperature irregularities within a larger swath.
But this added functionality comes with a price. An IR thermometer can be purchased for $40 to $100, while a one-day rental of an IR camera will likely cost $150 or more. New IR cameras start at roughly $1,200. More expensive models provide features such as greater thermal image resolution, wider temperature range, wireless connectivity, or the ability to display a picture-in-picture of an IR image within a standard digital image.
Firefighters, solar troubleshooters, and energy auditors use IR cameras regularly. If you are considering using an IR camera for one-time diagnostics, consider borrowing or renting the equipment.