Buying a good thermal camera is normally an expensive investment, costing from what a mid-range phone is worth to a few thousand dollars.
This just isn’t feasible for a lot of people who just need to inspect their home for leaks.
Luckily, there are smartphone add-ons like the incredible HTI HT 102 now available to turn your phone into a basic thermal imager and camera.
The HTI HT 102 is designed for Android smartphones, whereas the HT-101 model works on Apple phones.
Both are simple but well-designed thermal cameras that are super-easy to use, sturdy, and versatile.
The HT 101/102 is a perfect tool for basic inspection tasks such as HVAC and building inspections, equipment troubleshooting, preventative and predictive maintenance, and more.
That said, this product, like all smartphone IR add-ons, has limitations that may not meet your needs.
In this review, we'll address its shortcomings and its unique features.
If the HT 102 doesn't check your boxes, then make sure you check out our roundup of the best thermal cameras where we also review a range of dedicated hand held units - one of these will almost certainly meet your needs.
Pros and Cons
So what makes the HTI HT102 thermal camera stand apart?
The HT 102/101 thermal imager is very small, but packs a punch.
You connect it to your Android phone's power/USB port to capture and store thermal images. The connection also powers the unit, so no batteries are needed. Its small size makes it easy to travel with, too.
This thing is so small you can carry it in your shirt pocket - or keep it in the case included in the package to travel.
Easy to Use
The HT 102 uses a simple plug-and-play design.
To operate this unit, just plug in the thermal camera in your Android device, and the ‘Thermal Viewer’ app will be detected and opened.
Then start snapping away.
Just make sure you stay away from high heat and only use the HT 102 in an area where the temperature is within its operating range of 0 ℃ to 35 ℃.
Image Overlays and Mirroring
The HT 102 offers three display effects to choose from: 100% infrared, 100% visible light, and a simultaneous display with 50% of each.
By default, when the thermal viewer is connected, you'll see the visible image display.
This can be changed by clicking a button at the bottom of the screen in the software to choose amongst the three display effects.
The HT 102 also provides a useful mirroring effect you can use to interchange the images displayed on both sides of the screen by clicking a button on the top left of the screen.
Photo and Video Recording
You can take a picture by simply clicking on a button, and it will automatically be saved on your phone.
Furthermore, you can preview the picture before by clicking the preview interface button on the bottom of the screen.
The HT 102 also lets you to record thermal videos which will automatically save to your device. That said, the frame rate is limited to 9 Hz, which is nothing close to real time.
You can also preview videos stored on your device.
Using the HTI HT 101/102 you can measure the central point temperature of any desired surface in a range of -20 to 300 degrees Celsius. The temperature will be displayed on the top right corner of the screen.
If there’s a particular point on the object you want to measure, just click on that point on the screen and the temperature will be displayed. Can't get any easier than this.
You can display temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit.
This device comes with an instruction manual, storage case, and an adapter.
The adapter is useful if you don’t have a USB Type-C interface on your phone.
Issues & Concerns
The HTI HT 102 is a simple but great-performing IR imaging device, especially considering the price range.
However, some verified owners have complained about a few issues.
Software and App
When a phone has the automatic landscape-portrait mode on, the software can fail to detect the imager. It's easy to correct but needs to be addressed.
This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it becomes a little tedious if it happens often and you need to reconnect the device again.
With its small thermal display of 32x32 pixels and a thermal range of -20 ℃ to 300 ℃, the HT 102 is not a professional thermal camera/imager, but the range is plenty good enough for most building, electrical, plumbing and HVAC inspections.
Care and Maintenance
The HTI HT 102 is well-built, made of metal and well-packaged in a very small footprint. It should last you a long time if you take care of it well enough.
That said, due to the exposed USB-C male connector you'll want to store this device in the included case as much as possible.
TIP: if after connecting the device you see no image displayed, the best way to fix this is the following:
HTI is one of the most trusted thermal camera brands in the market.
The HTI HT 102 comes with a 1-year warranty and every unit is thoroughly tested before shipping. Customer returns are rare.
That said, HTI does not do refunds.
If your thermal camera has a defective, failed or missing part, they will exchange the entire unit at no charge.
Where to Buy
You can buy the HTI HT102 thermal camera on Amazon.
If the HT 102 is not what you’re looking for, then check out our roundup of other cheap thermal imaging cameras.