Free shipping Free shipping
30-Day Money Back Guarantee 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
2-Year Warranty 2-Year Warranty

Which Is Better, A Handheld or A Phone Thermal Camera?

Oct 25, 2023 Leo Wong

In the world of gadgets and technology, there’s an ever-growing debate on one specific topic: thermal cameras. These awesome devices aren't just for professionals anymore. Whether you are into DIY projects, love outdoor adventures, or need some assistance with car repairs, a thermal camera might just be what you need. They help you see beyond the usual spectrum of light, revealing a world based on heat, not light.

But the question is, which is the better pick: a handheld thermal camera or one that attaches to your smartphone? Let’s delve into the world of thermal imaging to find an answer.

Mileseey handheld thermal camera

Handheld Thermal Cameras

These are traditional devices dedicated solely to thermal imaging. They look much like a regular digital camera, but they're a bit more rugged and often come with additional features. 


  • Built for the Job: These thermal imagersare ergonomic, built for purpose, and often more durable. They can withstand harsh environments, making them ideal for heavy-duty fieldwork.
  • Higher Image Quality: Generally, handheld thermal imaging cameras boast better image quality. They have higher resolution, ensuring more precise and accurate images, essential for professional applications.
  • Advanced Features: With dedicated softwareor thermal imaging app , these thermal cameras can offer more in-depth analysis, have better zoom capabilities, and longer battery life since they’re used for one purpose only.
  • No Need for a Smartphone: In areas where using your phone is impractical or risky (think construction sites or intense hiking trips), these standalonethermal imaging device come in handy.


  • Cost: Handheld units can be significantly more expensive, given their specialized nature.
  • Portability: They are usually bulkier and heavier than their counterpartsof thermal camera for phone, taking up more space in your toolkit or backpack.
  • Separate Device: You need to carry around an extra piece of equipment. For the casual user, this might feel unnecessary and cumbersome.

Thermal camera for phone  

These are lightweight, compact thermal imaging devices that connect directly to your smartphone, utilizing an app to display and analyze thermal images.

thermal camera for smart phone


  • Convenience: One of the biggest draws is convenience. This device connects to something you carry every day: your smartphone. It's perfect for impromptu usage, especially during casual activities or if you’re a hobbyist.
  • Ease of Sharing: With a phone-based camera, sharing images or videos on social media, or sending them to friends, colleagues, or professionals for advice is a breeze.
  • Portability: They are compact, easy to transport, and won’t weigh you down during travels.


  • Dependent on Phone: Your thermal imaging capability is tied to your phone. If your phone battery dies, you lose access to your thermal camera too.
  • Lower Resolution: While excellent for casual use, the thermal image quality can be inferior compared to handheld units. For professional situations requiring detailed imaging, this might not be sufficient.
  • Compatibility Issues: Not all thermal cameras work with all smartphones, and sometimes specific app versions or phone specifications are needed. For example, If you are using an android smart phone, you may need a thermal camera for Android so that everything works.

Comparing Use Cases

To determine which is better for you, consider what you’ll use it for. If you’re a professional needing detailed images in serious missions, a dedicated handheld thermal imager is likely the right choice. It provides the high-resolution images that you might need for thorough inspections or analysis.

For DIY enthusiasts working on home improvements, the decision can be trickier. Consider the level of detail you need. If you’re checking for drafts, find your pet hiding in the dark, or even go ghost-hunting in your attic, for instance, a thermal camera for smartphone might suffice. But for more in-depth projects, like electrical work, the precision of a handheld unit could be necessary.

For outdoor use, such as camping or hiking, consider convenience and durability. A smartphone thermal camera is easier to carry, but is your phone rugged enough for all your adventures? Conversely, a handheld thermal camera is more durable but will be another piece of equipment to pack. 

Conclusion: Balancing Quality and Convenience

In conclusion, the “better” option between a handheld and a thermal camera for phone boils down to individual needs and preferences. If you are a pro needing high-resolution imagery, advanced features, and a device that can withstand harsh conditions, investing in a handheld thermal camera is worthwhile.

However, if convenience, ease of sharing, budget-friendliness, and fun investigations are your priorities, a smartphone thermal camera is like a cool, tech-savvy sidekick and will be more than adequate for your needs.

As thermal technology advances, the gap between these two types of thermal cameras might reduce, but for now, making a choice means assessing your needs, understanding the limitations and capabilities of each, and deciding what holds the most value for your activities.

Either way, entering the world of thermal imaging is a move that’s likely to offer you a new and valuable perspective on the world around you.

Back to the blog title

Post comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.