FLIR C2 Review – Best Selling Pocket Size Thermal Imaging Camera

By Randy Angwin

Jun 13
FLIR C2 Compact Thermal Camera review

Are you searching for a thermal camera that will make life at home or on the job site easier, but don’t know where to start looking? Allow us to point you in the right direction: FLIR. 

FLIR has been designing and manufacturing thermal imaging products for over five decades now. So, if you’re in the market for a new thermal camera, FLIR is a good place to start looking.

The company has a rich history and its focus on innovation continues to pave the way for future thermal imaging cameras. While FLIR does its best to keep its prices low, many people simply can’t afford to fork out the cash required to buy the thermal imaging camera they need.

If you’re one of those people, you’ll be happy to hear that not all FLIR products come with a price tag as big as its list of features. One such product is the topic of today’s article: the FLIR C2. 

What’s so Special About the FLIR C2?

FLIR C2 - Compact Thermal Camera

In 2015, FLIR released the FLIR C2 compact thermal camera and before long it seemed as though everyone had one. But why was and is this device so popular? For starters, it was considered a game-changer because the C2 was the first-ever pocket-sized thermal camera to be classed as “full-featured”. Meaning that just because you’re getting a small device doesn’t mean you’re losing out on the features that are found in regular-sized thermal cameras.

While thermal cameras are generally compact and ergonomically designed, the C2 takes this staple design element to a whole new level. Instead of having to attach the device to a tool belt it can simply be placed in the pocket of your shirt or pants. 

Its convenient size coupled with its impressive list of specifications and features places this product at the top of many people’s wish lists. The cherry on top of the FLIR C2 is its affordable price point that makes this device accessible to almost everyone.

Specifications

FLIR C2 - Compact Thermal Camera
  • Dimensions: 125 x 80 x 24 mm (4.9 x 3.1 x 0.94 inches) 
  • Weight: 0.13kg (0.29lb)
  • Accuracy: +/-2°C (+/-3.6°F) or 2%, whichever is greater, at 25°C (77°F) nominal
  • Temperature range: -10°C to +150°C (14 to 302°F)
  • Thermal sensitivity: <0.10°C
  • Focal length: 1.54 mm (0.061”)
  • Thermal Resolution: 80 x 60 (4,800 measurement pixels)
  • Built in digital camera
  • Emissivity correction: Yes – matte, semi or glossy
  • Refresh rate: 9 Hz
  • Field of view: 41° x 31°
  • Color palettes: Iron, Rainbow, Rainbow HC and Gray
  • Spectral range: 7.5 – 14µm
  • Focus: Fixed
  • Display: LCD touch screen, 3”, 320 x 240 pixels
  • FLIR Tools software

Applications

Thermal imaging cameras are used in many different applications that span across as many industries. The FLIR C2 is one product that can serve a vast range of purposes. Applications that the FLIR C2 is commonly used in include:

Features of the FLIR C2 Thermal Camera

FLIR C2 - Compact Thermal Camera

Don’t let its compact size fool you: the FLIR C2 is packed with features. We’re going to unpack some of its most impressive ones for you.

MSX

The FLIR C2 includes built-in real-time MSX enhancement which users absolutely love. MSX stands for Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging. This technology allows the device to produce crisp images by capturing both a thermal image and a visible light digital camera image at the same time. The thermal image is then overlayed on the visual image which adds additional detail allows to more easily pinpoint potential issues.

In layman’s terms, MSX adds extra details to thermal images so you can tell exactly what an object is and not just see its general outline. This is a feature that takes a low-resolution thermal imaging camera and turns it into a camera that produces crisp and highly detailed images. 

FLIR C2 - Compact Thermal Camera

Storage

The FLIR C2 is capable of storing up to 500 JPEG images at a time in its internal gallery. When you need to place thermal images in a report or if you’d just like to free up space on the device all you need to do is transfer the images across to your laptop or computer using the included USB Micro-B cable.

Connectivity

We mentioned above that the FLIR C2 can connect to a computer or laptop via USB port (using FLIR tools software) but that’s not all. If you want to transfer any images from your C2 to your SmartPhone you can do so through the FLIR app and USB cable or the optional WiFi version of the C2 which FLIR has named the FLIR C3.

Built-in Flashlight

The built-in flashlight is yet another feature that speaks to the level of thought the FLIR team puts into the product designs. Having a built-in flashlight allows you to see into all those nooks and crannies in order to successfully complete the task at hand.

On the C2 the flashlight is referred to as the “lamp” and can be switched on or off using the touch screen display. This feature is simple yet super convenient and it eliminates the need to carry any additional devices with you such as torches or headlights. 

FLIR C2 - Compact Thermal Camera

Battery Life and Charging

Due to the compact nature of the C2 battery life is not at long as in some thermal cameras however the battery can charge quickly. The 3.7V rechargeable battery needs 1.5 hours to fully charge and can last for two hours on a single charge.

The battery of the C2 is encased within the device itself and needs an AC adapter to charge. Not only does this mean that you’ll be saving money on buying standard batteries, but it also means you won’t need to worry about losing the battery. 

FLIR C2 - Compact Thermal Camera

Warranty

The C2 is covered by a 1-year warranty. If you register your C2 within 60 days of making your purchase, you’ll be eligible for an additional 2-year warranty on the camera itself and a decade long warranty on the detector.

So, if you do purchase the FLIR C2, make sure to take advantage of FLIR’s awesome warranty policy. 

Pros and Cons of the FLIR C2

There is no such thing as a perfect product. One person could find a product flawless while the next finds it useless. The FLIR C2 is no exception to this statement. There are numerous pros and cons associated with this thermal imaging camera which we’ve highlighted down below.

PROS:
  • User-friendly experience
  • MSX capabilities
  • Highly customizable
  • Lightweight, compact and portable
  • Quick start-up time
  • Quick image capture and storage
  • Responsive touch screen
CONS:
  • The resolution (80x60) is lower than what other thermal cameras offer
  • Rubberized surface means scratch marks are easily visible
  • Not able to expand its memory
  • The 9Hz refresh rate can cause image blurring/tearing when moving the camera quickly

FLIR C2 Thermal Camera Comparison

It’s fair to say that the FLIR C2 has a lot going for it, but how does it compare to other popular thermal cameras that the market has to offer?

FLIR C2 vs FLIR C3

We’ll start by comparing the FLIR C2 with its successor: the FLIR C3. At a glance, the C2 and C3 seem like the same product & share so many similarities that many people ask if they’re not the same product that underwent a bit of re-marketing. 

But the C2’s successor DOES have a few differences being that the FLIR C3 has Wi-Fi connectivity, Picture in Picture image mode as well as area measurement capabilities. Other than those three differences, the two devices are nearly the same. 

FLIR C3 - Compact Thermal Camera with WI-FI

FLIR C2 vs Hti A2

Now it’s time to compare FLIR’s C2 to Hti’s A2—if you think only one letter separates the two, you’re mistaken. The A2 has a bigger screen, a shorter focal length, a wider field of view, a higher temperature range and its individual specifications differ across the board.
The thermal resolution is also much higher on the Hti A2 at 320x240. Of note though the Hti does not include any report generation tools like the C2.

The only similarity found between the two devices is their shared thermal sensitivity specs. 

320 x 240 IR Resolution Thermal Camera, Pocket-Sized Infrared Camera with 76800 Pixels Real-Time Thermal Image, Temperature Measurement Range -4°F to 572°F,Mini IR Thermal Imager,Hti-Xintai

FLIR C2 vs PerfectPrime IR0005

The C2 and the PerfcetPrime IR0005 have quite a lot in common. They both share the same maximum wavelength coverage, refresh rate and accuracy. But the two devices also have their fair share of differences. 

The IR0005 has a much higher thermal image resolution (220x160), temperature range and a bigger screen. The C2 has a field of view of 41° x 31° whereas the IR0005 has field of view specifications of 35° x 26°. In terms of color palettes, the IR0005 has five color options—trumping the C2 by just one option. Again, there are no included reporting making tools.

PerfectPrime IR0005 Infrared (IR) Thermal Imager & Visible Light Camera with IR Resolution 35,200 Pixels, Thin Size, Black

FLIR C2 vs Seek Shot

There are many differences between the C2 and the Seek Shot. Both products feature a pocket-sized design & rugged look, built-in flashlight and 9Hz refresh rate. While they share many of the same characteristics that are typical in thermal cameras in this price range, the Seek Shot has some features that are absent in the C2. 

The Seek Shot has Wi-Fi connectivity, is able to record & stream video feed and has a 4-hour battery life. The Seek Shot also has a slightly higher thermal resolution of 206x156. Additionally, the Seek Shot has four emissivity presets whereas the C2 only has three and while the C2 has four color palettes the Seek Shot has eight. 

Seek Shot - All-Purpose Thermal Imaging Camera

FAQs

Do you still have any questions about the FLIR C2? Then check out the answers to the following FAQs.

Does it record video?

No, the C2 is not able to record video. It does, however, have video output, but this won’t be relevant if you need a device to record videos.

Can it be used to spot wildlife?

At a very basic level, yes, the C2 can be used to spot wildlife. But because it doesn’t have optics that are powerful enough for long-range detection and the resolution is on the lower end of the spectrum, we’d not recommend purchasing the C2 for wildlife detection.

Will it show leaks around a furnace or ductwork?

Yes, the C2 will display both hot and cold leaks & a furnace or ductwork. It will do so by reading and displaying the heat signature of the leak.

Can it be used to troubleshoot electric panels and wiring?

Yes, the C2 can be used to troubleshoot electric panels, wiring, and outlets. This is one of its primary applications and one of the reasons why so many people purchase the C2. Essentially, anything will a detectable heat signature that can be read by the C2.

Will it be able to find rats and other pests behind walls?

Yes, the C2 will be able to find rats and other warm-blooded pests behind walls. Only in circumstances when the pest is emitting a low body temperature, such as if it has recently died, will the C2 not be able to detect it.

Will it detect mold?

Yes and no, depending on the specific circumstances of the mold. If the mold growth is minimal, chances are it will go undetected. But if the mold growth is large, and in a very wet area, you could identify the presence of mold using the C2.

Is it waterproof?

No, the C2 is not waterproof. It is, however, water-resistant to a certain extent. The device is resistant enough that it can be cleaned with a soft cloth and warm water but not resistant enough to be submerged in water.

Final Thoughts

Even though the C2 has been around since 2015, it still remains one of the best pocket-sized budget thermal cameras money can buy. Some competitors offer a higher level of thermal resolution for a lower cost, but still, people can’t get enough of the FLIR C2.

Only a handful of products manage to stand the test of time, and the FLIR C2 is one of them.

If you’re still on the fence about purchasing the FLIR C2 just consider its solid build, impressive features, great warranty and FLIR’s reputation as an industry-leader & let those important details speak for themselves.

If your needs are more specific, and you need a thermal camera with more capabilities, you might want to consider increasing your budget. But if you only need a thermal camera for occasionally around the house or for some of the FLIR C2’s other considerable list of suitable applications, its a great choice.

Have you ever owned a FLIR thermal camera before? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments section below. 

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