FLIR E5-XT thermal camera review | Is it worth your money?

Here is our review of the Flir E5-XT where we show you the features and specs that justify its price and cement its place as a professional thermal camera.

PROS: Very high image quality, temperature accuracy and thermal sensitivity. IP54 Waterproof, Thermal data embedded in pictures.

CONS: Field of view could be wider, internal memory only stores 500 photos.
FLIR E5-XT thermal camera review | Is it worth your money?

ProductTypeResolutionBattery capacityWaterproofLCD screenPrice


Handheld160 x 1204 hoursYes3″Click for more info

FLIR E5 Compact

FLIR E5 Compact
Handheld120 x 904 hoursNo3″Click for more info

FLIR E5-XT Specifications

Resolution160 x 120
Pixels19200 pixels
ConnectivityUSB, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Temperature range4°F to 752°F (20°C to 400°C)
Thermal sensitivity0.10°C
Storage TypeInternal
Battery capacity4 hours
Dimensions 3.7 x 9.6 x 5.5 inches
LCD screen3″
Refresh rate9Hz
ApplicationsBuilding Inspection, HVAC, Home Inspection, Restoration
View Angle45° x 34°
FeaturesWaterproof, Dustproof, Manual Focus

FLIR E5-XT – Specs & Review

The Flir E5-XT is a professional thermal camera that really has everything you would ever want.

To sum up what is different in the Flir E5 vs E5-XT comparison, they increased the temperature range, the IR resolution, added bluetooth, made it waterproof and took away the SD card slot.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s start with the components: On the back of the camera you will find an infrared sensor and a visual camera. We will explain how they work together later.

All three connectivity options are present in this device. It has a micro USB port and wireless connectivity in the form of 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi which is used to connect to Android and iOS smartphones via the Flir tools Mobile app and Bluetooth.

Let’s dive a little deeper than just the Wifi in our Flir E5-XT review and look at its features, usage and adjustments.

The device lets you set 4 different types of color palettes: Rainbow, Iron, Black and White. If you are looking at this type of camera, chances are you already familiar with this, but we’ll point this out anyway: If you need to easily spot the highest or lowest temperature, the grayscale palettes are always better but Rainbow is the coolest looking.

Then there are the image modes and here you can choose to have either just the raw thermal image coming from the Lepton infrared sensor, just the visual image.

But of course this being a professional Flir camera, there are additional ones: The best one is the blend between the two (Which is also our favorite thermal imaging mode) called MSX Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging. It overlaps the images in such a way that it looks like an infrared image with just the object outlines.

The last image mode is the Picture-In-Picture, where most of the picture is from the digital camera, but the middle has a cut-out with the thermal image, something which can be practical in some scenarios.

One interesting feature is something that we’ve seen on a PerfectPrime model, a temperature alarm if the temperature rises above or comes down below a certain interval.

As far as temperature measurement goes, you can choose to have the center spot measurement as well as maximum and minimum spots but also setting an area.

FLIR E5-XT – Thermal imaging quality

The infrared resolution is 160 x 120. This means that the image it captures will have 19,200 pixels in total. Now, the first time that I read about the resolution, it seemed a bit low. But after comparing it to other handheld cameras in its price range, it turns out that this is the average resolution. The value is also cleverly situated above the Flir E4’s 80 x 60 and below the Flir E6-XT’s 240 x 180.

Nevertheless, the Flir E5 proves that IR resolution is not everything because the thermal image is blended together with the visual image. If you are looking at this camera, chances are you are already familiar with the Multi Spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX) that is proprietary to Flir thermal cameras.

The thermal images are saved in JPEG format and they are in radiometric form which means they contain all the thermal data encoded in a 14-bit format, so that you can later switch the palette or the temperature range or measure any point in the Flir Tools app or on the camera. We recommend that you install the Flir Tools software on your desktop and mobile because it will help you not only edit the pictures but also generate everyone’s favorite export: PDF reports.

The refresh rate could be much bigger, but because of US legislation it is limited to 9Hz.

FLIR E5-XT – Temperature Range, Accuracy

The Flir E5-XT’s thermal sensitivity is approximated at 0.10° C. That’s exactly what you also get from other similarly priced handheld infrared cameras. Again, here we can see that the Flir E4 has an inferior sensitivity of 0.15 and the E6-XT a better value of 0.06 with the Flir E8-XT having a value of 0.05 so more signs of a product line that is coherent. Flir actually points this out in the product’s datasheet to make it easier to understand what are the pros and cons of each camera. The XT in the name actually comes from the term “Extended temperature” and thus the temperature range starts from -20° C and goes up to 400° C, meaning that the camera won’t let you down in cold and freezing temperatures, when you want to check the status of a refrigeration device or a freezer but it will also work when you are trying to measure the temperature and troubleshoot electrical heaters, ovens and stoves.

The temperature measurement accuracy is great as well on this thermal imager, with an accuracy of +/-2. This is what we would expect from a device of its price.

The viewing angle is not though. It is quite narrow with a field of view of 45° x 34°. But we understand what Flir did here because narrow viewing angle + High IR resolution means that the pictures will be extremely detailed and that is the result. The wider the viewing angle, the more infrared resolution you need.

FLIR E5-XT – Battery life & Memory

What is the thing that we most dislike about the Flir E5-XT thermal camera? The memory capacity. The camera only has an internal memory with no possibility to expand it via an SD Card. And even worse, the memory can only store up to 500 images. I personally at this point do not understand why the memory is so limited and I’ve tried to find an answer but whatever the reason is, it certainly cannot be justified.

While the memory lacks behind, the battery life is great with up to 4 hours of continuous usage of the thermal imager. It takes about 2.5 hours for the camera to recharge up to 90%. And there is more good news: This thermal imaging device has an IP 54 rating which means that it is fully dustproof and almost fully waterproof. It can withstand large splashes of water easily. It is also built to withstand a drop from 2 meters.

Included in the package are the thermal camera, a hard case for carrying the device, a charger that’s compatible with EU, UK, Australian and US sockets and of course, the user manual.

The Flir E5-XT has a high-resolution 3″ LCD screen with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels. It is not a touch screen, but working with the buttons isn’t difficult at all.

We looked at the compatibility list and the Flir E5-XT is compatible with the Atlas SDK so if you are a developer and you want to hack the camera a bit, you can do so and Flir provides you the SDK. Flir will offer you a 2-year warranty for the entire camera and an extended 10-year warranty just for the infrared sensor.

Our Score