Thermal imaging technology has come a long way in the past few years and DeWALT has brought its new imager in at a pretty sweet price point at just under $1k. Before we go into the DCT416, a few people have asked me to compare it to the Milwaukee Imager. Well, to be honest they are in a different league from each other in both price and features. The DCT416 does not have the resolution of the Milwaukee, but makes up for it with price, ease of use and battery life. The DCT416 also has no calibration delay like we experienced with the Milwaukee, which is a plus.
DeWALT wanted to keep costs down and make the unit simple to use for anyone on the job-site to troubleshoot an issue quickly. They added a feature called Image Blend which overlays the thermal image onto the visual image. You can add more overlay until you have a thermal only image on the screen. The overlay really helps you pinpoint an issue, however I wish it had an led light to help light up the area. Another cool feature is tracking. Basically a red and blue box float around the screen and track on the coldest and warmest points. This is great because you just put the cursor on the box and you have the hottest or coldest temp depending on what box you’re on. You can see this clearly in the videos below.
- Detects 14º F to 480º F (-10º C to 250º C)
- 2.2″ Color Display for Visual, Thermal (15×15) and Blended Images
- Adjustable Emissivity 0.1 to 1.0, Adjustable in Increments of 0.01
- Weight 1.1 lbs (Tools In Action Scale)
You can capture all images via the photo capture button that saves both the visible and thermal snapshot .bmp to the included 2gb SD card which is protected by a rubber dust cover. I didn’t see a way to format the card on the unit which hopefully they will add in a firmware update in case you’re out in the field and need to erase the card. The menu is easy to navigate as you can see from the walkthrough video below. The control pad has six easy to use buttons and a simple user interface. My one quarrel is that the select button looks like a back button, so it tends to confuse me, but you may not experience this, as I am just dumb. Anyone can use this tool without instructions and be able to visually troubleshoot a problem.
The battery life on this imager has is amazing, it lasts a long time. I have over 2 hours of use and still have a charge on the included 12v MAX pack. Dewalt also includes a charger and hard case to protect the tool. The handle is like every other handle in the DeWALT 12v MAX line and fits like a glove in your hand. There is no trigger switch, a photo trigger switch would have been nice, however I quickly got used to using the button on the control panel. On the front is a slide lock cover to protect the sensing instruments when in storage.
DeWALT has a downloadable program for Windows only, which gives you the ability to create reports. While this software isn’t feature packed, it is easy to use and creates quick PDF reports like the one here. To wrap it up the DEWALT DCT416 is a hit in my book. It has brought basic thermal imagery to the masses, many hours will now be saved troubleshooting and diagnosing thanks to this technology. It is a precision instrument, but is designed and protected like a tool to last on the job site. The resolution is lower than the Milwaukee, but so is the price and still gets the job done.