Pocket-sized Infrared Thermometers

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Pocket-sized infrared thermometers are basically small handheld battery powered infrared thermometers. Though not designed to survive the harsh operating conditions as their industrial-use brethren, they still contain a wealth of features in their tiny housings. Often used in restaurants, and supermarkets, they are also used by race car teams to monitor tire and track temperature or by hobbyists to monitor nitro-fueled RC controlled model cars and airplanes. They are small enough to fit in a small toolkit, bag, or pocket. In general, pocket infrared thermometers are also more affordable than larger professional IR thermometer models.

Many pocket infrared thermometers focus on usability and compact design. They generally feature a large display screen for showing temperature and battery life (and when applicable, emissivity data), and a single button to initiate temperature readings. Like professional models, smaller IR thermometers can have a temperature resolution of a tenth of a degree.

Some pocket IR thermometers also have extra features that further enhance their ease of use. Different operating modes can enable users to manually trigger temperature readings or to continuously scan, offering temperature readings every second or so. They may also feature battery-saving automatic shut off and built in lasers for easy targeting.

Differences between Professional and Pocket Infrared Thermometers

The main difference between pocket infrared thermometers and professional models may be the professional models often have larger distance-to-spot size ratio (sometimes called D:S ratio) than pocket devices. The distance-to-spot size ratio describes the diameter of the measured target area of the measured infrared scan relative to the distance to the target. Pocket thermometers generally have D:S ratios of 3:1 or so, while 'professional' models may operate at 8:1 or greater.

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