530 of 549 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2010
Since the KINTREX IRT0421 Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer is the main competition, let me provide some comparisons of the two products.
I purchased this Black and Decker product because it has an innovative feature: A LED spot is projected on the surface that you are scanning. If the surface temperature is higher by 1 degree (or 5, 10 degrees) than a reference point you set, the LED color will turn red. Similarly if the temperature is lower, the color will turn blue. This saves me a lot of neck pain because I would not need to keep looking up and down between the ceiling I am scanning and the LCD screen on the device.
However, the KINTREX device is far more technologically advanced (not surprising as KINTREX specializes in making precise measurement devices while Black and Decker is just a home and garden gadget makers.
The disadvantaged of the Black and Decker product vs. KINTREX:
Measurement Range: -22 to 302 °F (-30 to 150 °C) vs. -76 to 932 °F (-60 to 500 °C), i.e., useless for measuring your oven.
Distance to Spot Ratio: 6:1 vs. 12:1, which means you will have to stay twice closer to what you are measuring.
Battery: 9V alkaline battery (not included and costs about $5) vs. 2 AAA battery (included). KINTREX also claims that because of the low voltage its battery life is 60% longer.
Padded Nylon Carrying Case with Belt Loop: not included vs. included.
343 of 358 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2009
Even if you are an unfortunate non-tech "regular" person. Man, what fun to aim and read this dandy little hand-held temperature detector. This device reads the temperature difference between a "reference point" and wherever else it is pointed around the house (probably only from the inside!). The trick here is to see where temperatures are somewhat lower than the reference point. The reference point, by the way, should be some wall or surface that you suspect is kind of the "average" temperature of the house. This means that the home owner can more easily track down places where cold outdoor air could be leaking in, or where the insulation does not stop heat losses like they should. Leaks almost certainly will be the big heat loss killers (or heat gain into an air conditioned space inside in the summer).
Once leaks and losses are narrowed down, then a trip to the hardware store to get some caulk, weather stripping, and limited insulation for hopefully less than one hundred dollars will go a long way to spending less on heating and cooling.
A couple notes on this instrument:
- This can read temperature differences up to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit, so there is plenty of range. This can be important for finding dangerous HOT spots around the house, and having little to do with energy savings: heating or stove problems hidden from view, electrical shorts behind the wall, etc.
- You can set the infrared beam to indicate temperature differences of either 1 degree, 5 degrees, or 10 degrees, giving you a good choice of the sensitivity you are inspecting; and the differences are visual - a green spot for temperature within allowed limits, red spot for too hot, and blue spot for cold beyond the limited tested.
- Windows and transparent surfaces (and probably shiny surfaces) will not test well with the instrument. Not a big deal.
This tool is an excellent buy.
135 of 145 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2009
This is a big improvement over the regular thermal detectors (I have a Craftsman I was given as a gift already). Instead of trying to keep looking at the ever-changing digital readout - this tool allows you to look right at where you are pointing it to see the changes in hot or cold. Fun and much easier to use than the regular variety.
88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2010
Neat toy, You point the device at for instance your wall and it sends a green light to indicate where its measuring.
When you scan over a temperature variation the color of the LED changes either to red to indicate it senses a higher temp or purple to indicate a lower temp at the same time you get a the temperature displayed on the units LCD screen.
A few years ago I had a company run CAT5, coax and a a ton of Siemens wire for some security cameras along with satellite TV an alarm and some updated phone lines. Well it turns out that in the process of running all that cable they made a TON of air leaks everywhere.
Found a spot where when they drilled through the fire stop they messed up the insulation and that area was 10 degrees warmer than the surrounding areas you could feel the heat coming in from the outlet they put there.
While playing with the scanner I noticed that the Smarthome keypadlincs and other smarthome light switches I have generate a TON of heat!
For instance a keypadlinc that is a x10 transmitter only read 85.5 degrees compared to the surrounding wall that was 9 degrees cooler.
A keypadlinc that contains a built in dimmer measured 95.37 degrees. Compare that to a normal electrical switch that generates no heat and uses no electricity to sustain itself.
Now your thinking thats cool but how does that affect me?
Well heat is power loss regardless of whether you are talking about loss through the transfer of from inside to outside the home or heat created by the consumtion of energy it all cost you money.
I really need to look into how much its costing me just to have these smarthome switches in place. If they are generating that much heat are they consuming 3-5 watts per hour? multiply that by 15 switches in the house over the course of a year and that adds up! The question then becomes does the convenience of being able to control multiple lights from 1 switch outweight the annual cost? Don't know yet.
This thing has tons of uses from measuring how inefficient your insulation is to seeing where your air conditioner and furnace ducts are not properly sealed, were hot water pipes aren't insulated properly (mine aren't at all yet)or just which windows aren't properly sealed.
I should point out that the family is a bit ticked off at me lately as I have been walking around the house pointing this thing at everything. I made my older son unplug his cell phone & tooth brush charger because they were generating heat and consuming energy I put a power strip on our loft TV which rarely gets used but yet the tv, receiver, subwoofer cable box and dvd player were once again all generating heat all using electricity even though they were turned off. (even in standby the cable box was generating INSANE heat 92 degrees IN STANDBY!!)
I also ordered a P3 International P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor from amazon that hasn't come yet but with that I will get a dollar amount on how much energy we are wasting.
As a final note the reason I am going through all this trouble? Well last months electric bill was $375 and I almost popped my pants well this months bill? $482.00!! Yeah i did %^$% my pants!
Personally, I thought we were ok energy wise, every bulb in the house is either florescent or LED, the only halogen bulbs I have are some landscape lights (300 watts worth) but these last two months have opened my eyes.
Next few months I'll be making changes so that I will never see any more bills like those.
84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2009
I haven't had my Leak Detector very long, but I already used it on all my appliances and also found the south wall of my home has some major air leaks.
Great for checking that pesky bottom drawer in the fridge that always freezes your vegetables,too. Finally got it set right.
Will be checking the insulation in my attic and boxing as soon as it starts to get cold and windy.
My son owns a remodeling business, and he has already asked me to borrow it a couple of times for different jobs. He likes it alot. He found a hot spot in light fixture wiring thru the drywall. Lifesaver.
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
What an amazing, simple, useful tool. I'm an instruction book reader before I try anything. In this case, I decided to open this up and see how easy it is to use without reading the instructions. It's cold outside today, so I had major fun pointing this at all kinds of things in our house.
This couldn't be easier to use, pop in a 9V battery (the battery from the annual smoke detector change is a great idea), aim the unit at some normal warm object in the house (a couch, or an interior wall), press the great big power button, wait until the display reads the temperature and the light shining at the object turns green, then point this thing at everything in the house. When the color of the light changes from green to blue or red, the temperature of where you aimed is five degrees colder (blue) or five degrees warmer (red) than the thing you pointed at in the first place. It's just that simple.
There are a few nuances that the manual helped clear up. The temperature inside the house needs to be fairly different from the exterior either colder or hotter it doesn't matter. All that matters is a temperature difference, the larger the better. There is a little slider knob that adjusts the temperature difference reading - at the top the light does not change color ever, 1 degree F means the light will change color if the first temperature is more than 1 degree different from the temperature currently being read, and 5 degree and 10 degree are just wider spreads. The closer the device is to an object the narrower the reading, or smaller area it will use to determine the temperature. Pretty simple idea, just like a flashlight spreads out wider the farther it shines. If scanning a big area, standing 10 or 20 feet away scans a fairly large area, about 2 or 3 feet around. And lastly, it does not work aimed at shiny objects or clear plastic (if the windows are covered with that clear plastic weather stretch wrap, the unit will read the temperature of the plastic, not the things behind it).
It's a lot of fun to walk around the house measuring all over the place. I discovered some unlikely leaks in my house. How to fix the leaks is a whole different matter. Black & Decker includes a small booklet on common repairs that might help. There's nothing really magic in there, calk, expandable foam, weather stripping, and insulation in the attic. The key is identifying the leaks and finding a way to slow them down. It's easy to imagine this will pay for itself in energy savings.
I also like this because it can be used for other things. I have built a few PC's; this is the perfect thing to find out where the real heat is in my computer cabinet. I'm sure there are other remote temperature sensing jobs this would be great at. The functional temperature range is -22 to 302 degrees F. The temperature accuracy is +/- 5 degrees at 32 degrees F, +/- 2.5 at 73 degrees F (the sweet spot this device would be used the most), and +/- 4 at 212 degrees F. For an infrared temperature sensor, this is not bad. Temperatures read out to 0.1 degrees F. The unit can be switched to degrees C with a slider switch inside the battery compartment.
It's kind of surprising; the unit is not shipped with a battery. The packaging is eco friendly, all cardboard, save one tiny plastic strip to hang this on pegboards.
I love this new toy. I'm going to drive my family crazy reading temperatures all over the house.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2010
I am an French engineer involved in Infrared since 1976.
I was a user and promoter of very expensive Infrared cameras ($50,000 and more)
This product's characteristics are amazing considering its price.
Accuracy, usefullness, ease to use, ergonomic, ...I could not believe it.
It is more than perfect.
A great tool that everybody should have for a first diagnosis of heat losses location.
Congratulations to Black abd Decker and thank you.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2014
This is a quality looking product and I am giving it five stars because the price is so low, it is good as a general-purpose IR thermometer, and so it has so many uses. I do want to correct someone who said that it responds instantly. It is more like a 1-2 second response to change color, so that is far from instant. You cannot quickly scan things.
It pales in comparison to a thermal camera. In fact, I am adding a photo from a $250 thermal camera that works with an iPhone 5 to show an example of insulation failure on a high wall in my house that I would have zero chance of finding with the Black and Decker. My advice is that if you have no IR thermometer, want one, and are ok with the limited temp range of this one, then get it. But if you will quickly waste your time compared to a thermal camera.
163 of 196 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2010
I was looking for an easier way to check for door and window drafts than a lit candle, so, when I saw this product, I immediately ordered it. Amazon was lightning fast with Prime shipping, and it was received less than 24 hours later.
I understand margin of error. However, the unit doesn't seem to be very good at accurately sensing even ballpark temperature. For example, as a test, I pointed the unit at my dog, and it showed 120 degrees. At the back of my daughter's head, it was 117 degrees.
If you'd simply put a piece of tape over the orange LCD screen and instead only watched the flashlight color cycle between Green and Red (hotter than the origin) and Blue (colder), that'd be fine. Even if the temperatures are wrong, the deltas are probably still correct.
But, if you're looking for something to also correctly sense temperature via IR, look elsewhere. As a leak detector, it may work, and thus fit its name, but having the temperature numbers available and having them be so wrong is misleading and ultimately unhelpful.
2 stars because you could ignore the LCD completely and look only at the colors and have a semi-useful unit. I returned it.
49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2010
Got this thing today returning it tomorrow, it's kind of hard to believe I'm reviewing the same product that others have given such high marks. Well I initially order the Kintrex Digital Infrared Thermometer. When comparing it to a friends 300 dollar unit I found it it was always within a degree or two most times 1/2 degree of the actual temperature. I actually bought it to help me identify drafts and air leaks after reading all the impressive reviews but once I got it I found that it wasen't quite as convenient to use as I had thought it does have a reference or max temperature I should say that you can use as a refrence. But it is sometimes a little difficult to keep comparing the refrence temp which is displayed at the bottom to the current temperature you're measuring. The one nice thing is though the PIN POINT ACCRACY of the little laser pointer on the Kintrex. The Black & Decker has a pointer the size of a tennis ball at about a foot and it's extremely difficult to know exactly what you're measuring, but with the Kintrex the that's never in question also like the 2 AAA batteries it takes over the more expensive 9 volt for the Black & Decker.
My major complaint of the B&D is that if you don't hold it at the correct angle you get inaccurate readings. For example holding it vertically and pointing it along a window ledge I got one reading that actually was incorrect so I actually had to hold it horizontally to get the correct temp this was verified by two other infrared thermometers all within a degree of one another. Another thing if you want to use the B&D for anything else I think it's kind of worthless for example trying to measure the temperature of something in the freg with a baseball size pointer if kind of fruitless how do you know if you're measuring the temperature of the grapes or the hot dogs especially if they are in close proximity of one another. I would also like to note that I thought the quality of the Kintrex is far better the the B&D the B&D just seems to have a cheap feel to it and the Kintrex also comes with a nice pouch to boot. Might be a little more time consuming but to me with the added features and extended temperature range make it's worth it at to me.