Seek Thermal is a relatively new thermal camera brand (founded in 2012) attempting to take on industry leader FLIR. At the time of writing, their key models include:
- Seek Thermal Compact Series - including CompactXR, & CompactPro.
- Seek Thermal Reveal Series - including the Seek RevealPro, ShieldPro (for law enforcement), and FirePro (for firefighters).
- Seek Thermal Shot Series - including the Seek ShotPro.
Taken at face value, Seek Thermal looks pretty good. And that's not just because they managed to score the website thermal.com - although that is pretty neat! One thing that interests me is the low price point of their thermal cameras.
Seek Thermal Australia Review
Here at Reduction Revolution, we've been selling thermal imagers for several years. We're always keen to see what new companies are offering. So I thought it was about time to buy a few of the Seek Thermal range and test them out.
To cut to the chase: I was not that impressed with Seek Thermal. I do not recommend them at this stage, but they are worth keeping an eye on in the future.
I liked some things, such as the ultra-compact carbon-fibre-finished form factor of the Seek Reveal Pro, for example (see above). But what matters most is the quality of the images that these devices capture. Without image clarity and accurate measurement, a thermal scanner has limited utility.
Rather than talk about all the specs (and why I think FLIR is still streets ahead), I thought the best way to show this is with a few sample images. This way, you can decide for yourself.
To try and be 'as fair as possible' in this review, I have uploaded the raw image from each device in each example. The much larger and clearer images from the FLIR device is not my attempt to favour it. It simply takes better pictures than the Seek Thermal cameras, at present, in my opinion.
Seek Thermal Cameras Tested
Here are the Seek thermal imaging cameras that I tested:
- Seek Compact Lighting for iPhone (model LW-AAA). This is similar to the FLIR ONE or FLIR ONE Pro.
- Seek RevealPro (model RG-AAA). FLIR doesn't have a direct 'equivalent looking' camera, but this device is targeted at users who may consider a professional FLIR E5 XT or similar.
- Seek ShotPro (model SQ-AAA). This is quite similar in form-factor to the FLIR C5.
Seek Thermal Sample Images
First up, I headed outside to my hot water system. It's a Bosch heat pump unit with the 'heat pump' part on top of the tank. Here's how it looks with each thermal camera:
'SeekFusion' vs. FLIR's 'MSX Technology'
I think the clarity of the images from the FLIR One Pro is unparalleled in the above sample set. This is in large part due to FLIR's superior thermal sensor and image enhancement technology, including 'MSX'.
Seek's equivalent is called 'SeekFusion'. It's currently only available on the Seek Shot series. Here's how it works:
Seek Shot Pro - no image blend (SeekFusion)
Seek Shot Pro - with image bland (SeekFusion)
FLIR ONE Pro - with MSX (default image)
It's worth pointing out that the FLIR ONE Pro is substantially cheaper than the Seek Shot Pro.
If you are wondering what the above images are - it's our popular foot mat heater.
Seek Thermal vs FLIR Temperature Sensitivity
One of the things our customers love about our thermal cameras is they give you x-ray like vision. It's worth clarifying thermal cameras can't actually see through objects. Instead, they detect minute surface temperature differences to achieve this appearance.
Seek Thermal's specs look good in this regard. They state a temperature sensitivity of < 70 mK on most of their devices, which is as good as FLIR for comparatively priced products.
But when I put this thermal sensitivity to the test, it did not perform well. Here's an example of the Seek Reveal Pro's image of a blank wall in my home. You can see the FLIR One Pro was more successful in picking up the studs behind the wall than the Seek unit was.
Seek Reveal Pro