HURRICANE Thermal Imaging Camera - Affordable Handheld Infrared Camera for Beginners

Published on Aug. 2, 2023, 2:06 p.m.

The HURRICANE Thermal Imaging Camera is a budget-friendly handheld infrared camera designed for DIYers and hobbyists. With a compact size and intuitive interface, this thermal imager allows anyone to detect temperature differences and identify hidden issues. But how does it actually perform for real-world applications? This review covers the key features, image quality, ease of use, accuracy, and overall value of the HURRICANE infrared camera.

HURRICANE Thermal Imaging Camera

Overview

  • Brand: HURRICANE
  • Model: Thermal Imaging Camera
  • Key Features:
  • 1.8” LCD color display
  • Infrared resolution of 1024 pixels
  • Temperature range from -4°F to 1202°F
  • Built-in 4GB memory card
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Price: $159.99

HURRICANE Thermal Imaging Camera

Design and Build Quality

The HURRICANE thermal imager has a sturdy plastic body with an ergonomic grip handle that makes it easy to hold steadily during inspections. It has a compact rectangular shape measuring 5.9 x 3.5 x 1.6 inches and weighs just 0.99 lbs with the batteries installed. The overall construction feels durable enough for daily professional use.

Image Quality and Performance

With an infrared resolution of 1024 pixels (32 x 32 sensor), the HURRICANE delivers decent image quality that clearly displays hot and cold spots for troubleshooting electrical, HVAC and mechanical issues. The 1.8” LCD screen shows images in real time and has a choice of 3 color palettes to optimize contrast.

The temperature measurement range of -4°F to 1202°F captures a wide span of temperatures with ±2% accuracy. The 500ms response time provides updated temperature readouts at a reasonably fast rate.

Features and User Experience

A handy feature of the HURRICANE thermal imager is the built-in 4GB micro SD card and USB cable for storing images to analyze later on a computer. The user interface is straightforward with menus for adjusting temperature scale, color palettes, image modes and more.

The rechargeable battery lasts 2-3 hours per charge which is about average for this class of thermal camera. The included carry case provides handy portable storage.

Ease of Use

Despite the low price, the interface is well-designed. Navigating menus and adjusting settings is straightforward. Three color palettes help highlight temperature differences. The handgrip fits nicely in the hand.

Accuracy

For non-critical applications, the temperature accuracy of ±2% or 2°C is reasonable. However, it may not be reliable enough for precision industrial maintenance. Comparing readings to a separate thermometer is recommended.

HURRICANE Thermal Imaging Camera

Battery Life

The HURRICANE thermal imager is powered by a built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery. The battery life is rated for 2-3 hours of continuous use per full charge. This relatively short running time can be limiting for longer inspection tasks.

In real-world customer testing, the battery lasted around 2.5 hours before needing to be recharged. This battery life is about average for lower-cost thermal cameras. More expensive professional-grade models may offer 5+ hours of runtime.

To maximize battery life, users should turn off the imager when not in use rather than leaving it in standby mode. Reducing the LCD brightness can also help extend battery duration. Carrying spare charged battery packs is recommended for all-day use.

Charging

Charging the HURRICANE thermal imager battery is a straightforward process. The included USB charging cable connects from the micro USB port on the camera to a powered USB port or wall charger.

A full charge from empty takes approximately 3-4 hours. It’s advisable to fully charge the battery before first use rather than using it in a partially charged state which can shorten overall battery lifespan.

The battery level indicator in the display corner shows the approximate charge level. For optimal performance, the battery should be recharged after each use. Leaving the battery depleted for long periods can cause permanent degradation.

Overall, while the battery life could be improved, the replaceable nature of the battery and standard USB charging method allows users to have backup power available as needed. Carrying an extra charged battery or power bank is recommended for longer jobs.

Use Cases

  • Finding insulation issues
  • Locating plumbing leaks
  • Inspecting electrical systems
  • HVAC troubleshooting
  • Identifying heat loss areas

User Feedback

The HURRICANE thermal imager has received mixed reviews from customers. On the positive side, many users found it easy to operate and liked the compact size for portability. The temperature accuracy measured within 2-3 degrees of higher-end thermal cameras in customers’ tests. Some mentioned the built-in image storage was very helpful for keeping records of inspections.

However, a common complaint was that the image quality is not sharp enough for detailed analysis, especially when displayed on the small onboard screen. Several users were disappointed by the mediocre battery life of 2-3 hours. Some reported issues with the power button failing or image freezing up requiring battery removal to reset.

Overall customers felt the HURRICANE delivers good value for the low price point, but wished for improvements in image clarity, battery life, and durability. Most recommended it for basic troubleshooting applications rather than any fine temperature measurement uses.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Compact, lightweight and portable
  • Sufficient accuracy for basic thermal checks
  • Easy to operate controls
  • Convenient image storage

Cons

  • Image resolution could be better
  • Short 2-3 hour battery life
  • Durability issues reported
  • Small screen makes images hard to interpret

Value

Considering its compact form factor and handy built-in storage, the HURRICANE thermal imager provides fair value for the budget-friendly price of around $160. While more expensive models offer better resolution and battery life, this is a cost-effective option for basic electrical and mechanical troubleshooting applications where ultra-fine temperature differences don’t need to be distinguished. Overall it hits a reasonable sweet spot between price and performance.

Conclusion

While it lacks the polished performance of high-end models, the HURRICANE Thermal Imager is a capable budget-friendly option for DIYers. The intuitive interface and compact form factor make infrared imaging accessible. For those new to thermography, it’s a solid entry-level camera.

Specifications

  • Infrared resolution: 32 x 32 pixels
  • Temperature range: -4°F to 1202°F
  • Display: 1.8” LCD color screen
  • Palettes: Rainbow, Iron, Black/White
  • File format: JPG images, MPEG4 video
  • Battery life: 4-6 hours continuous use

What’s Included

  • Thermal imaging camera
  • 4GB microSD card
  • USB cable
  • 4 AAA batteries
  • Carrying case

How To Use

  1. Insert batteries and memory card
  2. Point camera at target area
  3. Adjust temperature scale as needed
  4. Interpret thermal image
  5. Capture photos and videos
  6. Transfer files to computer via USB

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the image resolution of this thermal imager?

A: The HURRICANE thermal imager has an infrared image resolution of 33 x 33 pixels, for a total of 1024 pixels. The visible light image resolution is 640 x 480 pixels.

2. What is the temperature measurement range of this thermal imager?

A: The temperature measurement range of this thermal imager is -20°C to 650°C (-4°F to 1202°F).

3. Can this thermal imager store images?

A: Yes. This thermal imager comes with a 4GB memory card that can store images and videos. You can also transfer images and videos to a computer for storage and analysis.

4. What type of batteries does this thermal imager use?

A: This thermal imager is powered by 4 AAA batteries. The battery life is approximately 4 hours.

5. What are some applications for this thermal imager?

A: The HURRICANE thermal imager can be used for a variety of applications, including:

  • Electrical inspection: Detecting electrical faults and overheating.
  • Building inspection: Identifying building defects and insulation problems.
  • Mechanical inspection: Detecting mechanical faults and wear.
  • Piping inspection: Identifying pipe leaks and blockages.
  • Search and rescue: Locating people in dark or harsh weather conditions.
  • Wildlife observation: Observing wildlife at night.

Usage Tips

  • For best image quality, use the thermal imager in an ambient temperature of 0°C to 40°C (32°F to 104°F).
  • When using the thermal imager, make sure the target is within the field of view of the thermal imager.
  • For more accurate temperature measurement, make sure the target surface is flat and non-reflective.
  • When using the thermal imager, do not look directly at the sun or other strong light sources.

Tips

  • Be sure to follow all safety precautions when using the thermal imager.
  • Do not use the thermal imager for illegal or unethical purposes.
  • Do not expose the thermal imager to extreme temperatures or humidity.
  • Do not drop or impact the thermal imager.

Note: The information above is for reference only. Actual usage may vary depending on the environment and operating methods.