Infrared Thermometer – Purpose, Types And Working Principle

There is a wide range of thermometers on the market, and each one is used for specific measuring application. When we talk about thermometers, most people think about the traditional home thermometers which are used for measuring the home temperature. However, today you can find more advanced models which are used for complex applications where precision and accuracy is required. One such thermometer is the infrared thermometer. This model is generally used for measuring the temperature (remotely), in environments where it is physically impossible to be in contact with items that are being measured, such as items that are far away or are very hot. This device is also suitable for measuring items which are prone to sudden changes in temperature.

The infrared thermometers are usually categorized by the measuring or sensing method they use. Handheld digital infrared thermometer, pocket or stick type infrared thermometer, infrared thermocouples, fixed mount infrared thermometers, these are few models which can be found easily on the market. The most commonly used is the digital infrared thermometer. This digital device has a form of a pistol and it is made of hard plastic. It is equipped with one or more lenses and small LED diode which displays the temperature. The most unique aspect of this thermometer is the guiding feature that produce a laser point which helps the user to aim the device and to measure the temperature with high precision. Like the pistol, the digital infrared thermometer comes with a trigger which needs to be pulled so that users can measure remotely the temperature of certain objects.


Measuring temperature with digital infrared thermometer is quite simple, but the process that happens inside the device is complex for explanation. The factors that need to be closely considered are the emissivity of the surface that needs to be measured, and the laser spot size. When the user pulls the trigger, an infrared radiation passes through the lenses of the thermometer. Then a special disc, which is known as optical chopper, slices the beam into tiny fragments. These tiny fragments travel with high speed towards the objects or items that need to be measured. An internal digital device of the infrared thermometer determines the difference between the outgoing and incoming heat, providing in this way a highly accurate temperature reading.

Although highly useful, the digital infrared thermometer is not suitable for all temperature-measuring applications. For example, when measuring the temperature of a shiny surface, the device cannot provide accurate temperature reading because of the reflection. Despite this negative side, the digital infrared thermometer is a perfect device to get accurate Celsius or Fahrenheit temperature readings quickly and very easily.

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About Alex Banner

Machinery specialist.
This entry was posted in Infrared Thermometers, Thermometers and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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