COLD SPOTS Reviews IR-Thermometers!
Special Report: Equipment
Watch any program about paranormal investigation and you'll see the teams involved working with all kinds of strange and interesting equipment. While some of those gizmos are far too expensive for the weekend ghost hunter, or require a degree in physics to use, others are commonly found in the paranormal investigator's gear bag. One of these items, the infra-red thermometer, is most often used to locate and document the presence of drastic temperature variances, the proverbial "cold spots." Because it was designed to measure temperature without physical contact, it is ideal for measuring the ambient temperature of any suspected haunted location. Of course, few, if any, of these programs will hold up their gear for examination, much less tell their viewers where to get them. In fact, there is a wide range of these gadgets from several producers that few have heard of. That being the case, we at Cold Spots acquired a few of these lovely toys for our own brand of testing and product review.
The Fluke Corporation makes a wide range of meters and gauges, including thermal imagers and calibrators. As one of the leaders in the field of professional equipment, it is not surprising that their 62-mini digital IR-Thermometer is a high quality gadget. Field-testing this tool was fun and easy, and, despite a few minor flaws, we give this item high marks.
- Comfortable - With a molded pistol-grip-style design, the 62-mini is easy to carry around.
- Backlight - The digital readout is made all the better by a back-lit display.
- Laser-Guided - The single-point red laser tracking system allows the user to instantly tell where the sensor is aimed.
- Carrying Case - It comes with a belt-attachable carrying case.
- Temperature Setting - The switch to move between Fahrenheit and Celsius in in an inconvenient spot: Under the battery cover, which is located beneath the front of the main pistol grip.
- Slightly Heavier - The 62-mini weighs only slightly more than other pistol-grip IR-Thermometers.
Price Range: $88.99 - $124.95
Not to be outdone, Omega Engineering has come out with an impressive IR-Thermometer in the OS561. Its slick design makes some improvements over its competitors, but it still falls short in a few places. Our testing protocols found it to be easy to use with a long-lasting power source and simple interface.
- Backlight - The digital display is large and backlit, making reading the display easy even in a dark room.
- Temperature Switch - The button to switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius is conveniently located, where a flick of the thumb can make the change.
- Very Light - When holding a piece of equipment aloft for extended periods of time, even a few ounces and make a difference.
- Laser Guide - Takes the guess-work out of determining the direction of the sensor. However...
- Laser Guide - Instead of a single pin-point of light, the OS561 emits a ring of red light with a target point in the center. While this is good for measuring the temperature of solid objects, it can be distracting for someone measuring the temperature of air, intangibles, or walking about through a darkened house.
- Less Comfortable - Though light and slick-looking, the overall feel of the OS561 is not quite right in the hand.
- No Case - A case can be purchased for an additional $12, which puts the piece into the same price range as its competitors.
Looking around, LaCrosse Technology provides an alternative to people who are unable to drop a random hundred dollars on a gizmo for a misunderstood hobby. And lest anyone think that the lower price denotes lower quality, this gadget proved itself beside the others in this review, and came through as a genuine contender. Though it lacks a laser guide, it is still very accurate and convenient to use. Moreover, it is the type of equipment that fits nicely into a pocket, or can be worn around the neck, providing hands-free movement when necessary.
- Compact - The IR-101 weighs practically nothing, and fits easily into the palm of your hand.
- Backlight - Display lights up for easy reading.
- Inexpensive - Easily more affordable than the higher-end models.
- Convenient - Comes with both a carrying case and a lanyard, allowing the user to carry it and other items with ease.
The Not So Good
- Awkward - Because of the design, it is often difficult to read the display without moving the hand, sending the reading toward another object entirely.
- Not Intuitive - Switching between Fahrenheit and Celsius is a matter of clicking the reading button multiple times, a feature that can be confusing at first.
Price: $36.95 - $59.95
A quality IR-Thermometer doesn't have to break the bank. Though some of the higher-end pieces do deservedly come with a higher price tag, there are functional models out there at a much lower price. More bells and whistles may not always be the right thing, and what appears to be a good idea for some uses falls flat for others. While the Fluke and Omega models are, without question, the best of the breed, hunters on a budget would do well to consider the LaCrosse model. There are other companies out there, for certain. Many offer comparable items, along with other equipment that ghost hunters can only dream of and drool over. These three, however, seemed to be the best pieces at the best prices.