Below are our reviews of the 4 best cheap pyrometers on the market:
Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Digital Laser Infrared Pyrometer -58℉~1022℉
The Etekcity is a cheap infrared pyrometer which is good for kiln usage but might not be the best for furnaces. It reads up to 1022°F with surprising accuracy for its low cost. The entire setup is ergonomic and the temperature range makes it suitable for a ton of different tasks although it might not be suitable for truly high temperature applications.
One thing’s for sure: if you go with this option you’ll save a lot of money and be able to get a good temperature reading on most surfaces. Give it a shot and you won’t be disappointed as long as the temperature you’re looking for is within range.
Joes Racing 54005 Pyrometer with Adjustable Probe
Joe’s Racing produces this awesome little digital pyrometer which is designed for automotive use but can be quite useful for quite a few applications with some creative thought. While it does require some level of contact, keeping it from being as useful as infrared thermometers, the unique 90° head allows it to take the temperature of nearly any piece of an engine quite easily.
With a top temperature range of 1800°F (see full specs) you’ll be in good hands but the specialized usage might make it easier for most people to use an infrared thermometer. If you’ve got the usage for it, however, you’ll be in good hands.
Perfect-Prime TC41, 4-Channel K-Type Digital Pyrometer -200~1372°C/2501°F
Perfect Prime produces this cheap, 4 probe digital thermometer with a super impressive range of temperatures. Like many of the digital pyrometers on the market, it’s designed primarily to allow for higher range temperatures to be measured, bottoming out at 200°C or 392°F.
Of course, the top end is an impressive 1372°C or 2501°F, which makes it suitable for even applications like melting most scrap metal. Add in the supreme accuracy and you’re in good hands. The Perfect Prime TC41 might just be the best cheap pyrometer if you insist on making contact.
Fluke 62 MAX IR Pyrometer / Thermometer
Fluke makes some of the best products around when it comes to any kind of diagnostics. Their infrared thermometers are no exception and they’ll provide you with an amazing amount of accuracy in addition to having a wide range. The Fluke 62 is a more expensive item on our list, but it’s still pretty cheap comparatively.
The temperature range on this one runs from -20°F to 932°F (see full specs), which gives a pretty wide range, but for a higher maximum the only real option is going to be to go with a digital and physical probes. If accuracy is the name of your game, however, you won’t find anything close for nearly the same price.
How to Pick the Best Cheap Pyrometer
When you’re picking out a cheap pyrometer, you’re pretty much limited to digital and infrared options. Finding an optical pyrometer for less than $500 simply isn’t going to happen, which is unfortunate but a simple fact.
The main thing you need to figure out is what you’re checking the temperature of.
Infrared pyrometers operate on a simple principle, by inferring the temperature of an item from the blackbody radiation which is emitted.
For the user things are even simpler: pull the switch, aim the laser, take your reading.
They tend to be a bit less accurate than digital pyrometers for several reasons, but if you take three readings and calculate the average they can still get you within a couple of degrees most of the time.
The main advantage you’ll experience with the infrared option is the ability to measure cooler temperatures as well, which digital pyrometers simply won’t do.
On the other hand, they also tend not to be able to measure quite as high of temperatures so you’re going to have a trade off if you go with one of these. Most of them top out at ~1000°F, especially if you’re looking for a cheaper option.
Digital pyrometers tend to be specialized tools for specific purposes although generic options exist. The fact of the matter is that they can all pretty much be used interchangeably as long as the temperature range you’re looking at is proper.
For things like furnaces, where you’ll be melting scrap metal and need to be within a certain temperature range over 1000°F they’re awesome. They’re also useful for ceramic kilns.
The main disadvantage is that they use a probe which will have to come into contact with the item being measured at some point, or placed within if you’re measuring the interior of a furnace or kiln.
They also tend not to be able to measure lower temperatures, since they’re primarily used for only high temperature ranges.
They definitely meet a lot of people’s needs, however, and there are a number of low price options available for those who can sacrifice a bit of accuracy in favor of a much lower price.
While a low cost tool might not be able to do the same things as something with a much higher cost, you might just find that the best cheap pyrometer around is perfect for your temperature sensing needs. We’ve put quite a bit of thought into picking out our items, so give it a shot and you know you’ll be in good hands. Good luck!