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What is an infrared thermometer?

An infrared thermometer is a type of digital thermometer that calculates the temperature using a property present in every object, thermal or blackbody radiation. These thermometers receive many different names, as they usually have the shape of a pistol and have a trigger and laser pointer to aim are known as laser thermometers or gun thermometers. They are also called pyrometers because of their use in ovens at high temperatures.

They are instruments that can measure the temperature of an object at a distance and without the need for contact so they are categorized as non-contact thermometers.

How to choose the correct infrared thermometer?

Infrared remote thermometers are of many shapes and qualities but the determining factors to be considered in an infrared radiation thermometer are the distance to which the object is located and the emissivity of its surface, the temperature range and the precision of the instrument and its field of vision.

The distance of the object to be measured and the field of vision, as well as the D: S ratio are related. Each IR thermometer has a field of vision, that is, an angle of vision in which it will average all the temperatures it sees.

The field of view is often defined by the ratio D: S, The distance to point D ratio: S is the size of the area ("point") that is measured in relation to the distance of the thermometer from the point. For example, a D: S ratio of 8 to 1 would measure a 1 cm point at a distance of 8 cm. In terms of field of vision, if the distance to the object divided by the diameter of the object is exactly 8, then the object exactly fills the field of view of the instrument. As the distance increases, the size of the measured point will increase.

The accuracy depends on the temperature of whatever it is measuring; Usually, the accuracy worsens at very high or very low temperatures. The accuracy figures cited often refer to the accuracy within a specific temperature range (not over the entire covered temperature range), so be careful when comparing the specifications of different models. Also remember that, just because the display shows the temperature at the nearest 0.1 degree, that does not mean that the reading has an accuracy of 0.1 degrees.

The D: S ratio affects the accuracy of the reading. If the target you are measuring is 6 cm in size, and your infrared thermometer has a D: S ratio of 8: 1, then the maximum distance at which you can confidently measure the target's temperature is 48 cm. Beyond this distance, the size of the point being measured increases and not only the objective is measured, but also what is measured within the "point" (or field of vision) is measured. This means that if a very hot object is the target, and it is in a colder environment, then measurements taken beyond the maximum distance will include colder elements and will decrease the average temperature of what is at the "point", by that you have to make sure that the goal is bigger than the point size that the unit measures. The smaller the target, the closer you should be to it. If the accuracy is critical, the goal should be at least twice as large as the "dot" size.

For all this to choose the right infrared thermometer you can follow these simple formulas:

Ratio D: S x target size = maximum measurement distance
    8: 1 x 6cm = 48cm

Measurement distance /target size = Ratio D: S minimum required
          48cm /6cm = 8 (8: 1)

Measurement distance /Ratio D: S = minimum target size required for correct measurement
            48cm /8 (8: 1) = 6cm

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Digital thermometer with probe


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