DeWalt DCT414S1 12V MAX Infrared Thermometer Kit Review
The DeWalt DCT414S1 12V MAX Infrared Thermometer Kit is a great addition to DeWalt’s compact 12V lineup. This tool will be a great asset to the electrical, plumbing, and especially HVAC (air mechanical) tradesmen. Infrared thermometers provide safe, easy and accurate non-contact temperature readings which are ideal under hazardous conditions and for hard to reach objects. The DeWalt Infrared Thermometer has good ergonomics, making it easy to handle. The laser is bright and can easily be seen under nearly any lighting condition. With a wide temperature range of -20º F to 932º F, most users should find this more than adequate for most situations. The green backlit LCD screen is easy to read in both bright sunlight and in the dark. There are three programmable alarms, both audio and patent-pending LED lights. The infrared comes with a nice hard case, one battery, a 40-minute charger and an instruction leaflet.
DeWalt DCT414S1 Infrared Thermometer Features
As we mentioned, the 1-1/4″ LCD is very easy to read, regardless of the lighting conditions. Below the LCD are five buttons for selecting between Fahrenheit and Celsius, programing alarms and changing emissivity (EMS). Emissivity is the ability of a surface to radiate heat. There are two holes on the front of the gun. The lower of the two is the laser and the larger upper hole is the infrared reader. The infrared reads at a ratio of distance verse spot (D:S). This particular infrared thermometer has a D:S ratio of 12:1, which is fairly common for this price range. What this means is that at 12 inches the reading spot is around 1 inch and is growing in a cone that progressively gets larger as it moves away from the tool. The closer you are, the more pin-point your reading will be. With the alarm feature, users can set a high/low limit temperature range. This alarm system is unique in that it allows users to choose audio and/or two LED lights (red for the high limit and blue for the low limit) to alert them when temperatures outside of the set range are detected. There are three programmable alarms with adjustable emissivity. The EMS range is from 1.00 to 0.10. The default setting of the gun is 0.95, which works well on most surfaces. A chart is included in the instruction leaflet that provides the EMS of many common materials.
Testing and Use
Right out of the box, the DeWalt DCT414S1 12V MAX Infrared Thermometer was easy to use. We simply installed the battery and held the trigger down for a few seconds to turn it on. When the laser comes on, it is ready to read any surface temperature. I tested the infrared on various materials, using both the EMS default setting of 0.95 and each material’s appropriate EMS setting. In the majority of cases, the two readings were very close. However, there was a significant difference with some materials. One way of overcoming this is to place masking tape on the object and read off the tape with the EMS set to default 0.95. One thing that we picked up on as we spent more time with the DeWalt Infrared Thermometer is that the laser is not quite close enough to the infrared sensor. This causes temperature readings to be above the laser dot about 3/4 of an inch at 12 inches. When we tested it at two feet, the laser was still not reading in the infrared spot, which would be approximately two inches in diameter. Even though the laser was too low, it was easy enough to compensate to get an accurate reading once we spent a little time with the tool and learned its parameters. As with any laser, remember to never point the laser in your, or any bystander’s, eyes.
The DeWalt DCT414S1 12V MAX Infrared Thermometer Kit is a great tool to add to your collection. This is especially true if you are in the mechanical or electrical trades and you already have other DeWalt 12V tools. It is very easy to use and serves its function well. From what we can tell, it should prove to be as rugged as other DeWalt tools and products. Maybe down the road we will see DeWalt make an infrared thermometer with a tighter D:S ratio. Overall, we give the DeWalt Infrared Thermometer a Value rating of 7/10 thanks to its reasonable price, nice hard case, and useful features. For our Performance score we gave the tool a 7/10; if the laser was aimed better or located closer to the infrared sensor to get greater pin-point accuracy it would have received a few more performance points.