Steph B. -“Thank you for being so patient and thorough!”      Call us today 206-295-4330

These are some of my favorite tools for a home inspection.

We have broken them into categories

Tools every home inspector needs
Electrical tools
Moisture meter, thermal camera and laser thermomoter
Tool bags and belts / pouches
Safety gear
Respirators
Inspection gloves
Hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes
Small hand tools we use everyday
Portable power in your vehicle

Reviews of Thermal cameras (12/2022)

Please note the following include affiliate links to Amazon.

back to top

Tools every home inspector needs

Favorite Headlight

This headlight is awesome, cheap, and great with a tight focus beam ideal for crawlspaces and attics.

I like AA battery power for my lights, and cameras. If I am ever out of power, any 7-11 has them on hand. Don’t let dead batteries cost you an inspection fee.

The Nitecore EA81 Cree XHP50is my current favorite flashlight, at $120 it is kind of expensive but I love mine.

The Little Giant ladder is the stand-by of the home inspection industry, I have used my Little Giant 17′ ladder on more the 5000 inspections. I could not do my job without it.

back to top

Electrical tools

That outlet tester is a great inexpensive tool. Don’t get the cheaper ones, I have found the super cheapos to be unreliable. This has to be a robust tool, need it to work hundreds, possibly thousands of times. The budget versions of these are only 3 bucks at your super cheapie discount tool store. I would not use them if they were free. The prongs get loose and they give faulty readings. They are worthless.
Klein’s electrical receptacle tester tests the wiring conditions at an electrical outlet and inspects GFCI devices. The LCD displays the voltage, identifies the wiring fault, and the time required to trip a GFCI device. It is designated for use with North American 3-wire 120V electrical outlets.

Be sure to check out the non-contact voltage tester tips and tricks for Home Inspectors by Ruben Salzman.

Be sure to pick up a quality non-contact voltage tester. This is one place to spend for a good name brand (Fluke and Klein both make great quality tools), your life might depend on this one. The Fluke has the edge on Klein in my opinion, and I have switched after seeing this video from Reuben Saltzman with Structure Tech Home Inspection. The Klein is a little cheaper, but my fluke equipment has always been top-notch.

I also like to use Fluke multimeters and model 323 listed below is a great little meter. The combo package from Klein Tools is a good budget-conscious choice, it includes a CL120 400A Auto-Ranging Digital Clamp Meter, RT210 GFCI Receptacle Tester, and 69409 Line Splitter.

back to top
back to top

Moisture meter, thermal camera and laser thermomoter

The moisture meter is another critical tool, when documenting water issues, it is always good to take a picture of a quality brand name tool. Kleins reputation and value pricing make them a great bargain. The Flir One Pro uses your cell phone hardware to make it an affordable thermal camera option.
A former student Ryland Derning likes the HIKMICRO B10 256 x 192 IR Resolution Thermal Imaging Camera saying “I wish I had known about these before I spent 3x as much on a Flir with lower resolution”

back to top

Tool bags and belts / pouches

I prefer to use a tool bag as I inspect, but many inspectors will use a tool belt with all their most used tool always at hand. These are a couple of good options.

back to top

Safety gear

As for safety gear, good coveralls are a must. I like my coveralls to have zip pockets to keep me from losing my camera in crawlspaces.

I like using a painter’s head sock when in the crawlspace, I don’t want to get cobwebs on my face and hair. Always wear safety goggles in crawlspaces.

back to top

Respirators

Bag your respirator in a ziplock or airtight container to keep the filters fresh and the mask clean

I also recommend a very good respirator and high-quality filters. N95 masks are not adequate for this profession. The 3M line of professional-grade masks are great, and if you have a beard the full facepiece reusable respirator is for you. Shin guards, (the kind used for baseball catchers) are your best friend when traversing a crawlspace on your hands and knees.

back to top

Inspection gloves

These are one of my favorite crawlspace inspection gloves. They are tough and I still can manipulate a zipper pocket and a camera with them on. As a home inspector, keeping your health and safety is of paramount concern. You will never know what has been left behind, pesticides, germs, mold, chemicals asbestos, lead, etc. We always wear rubber gloves when we inspect. Remember if you put on cotton gloves before the rubber inspection gloves, your hands will be much more comfortable. I can were them for a couple of hours and not have ‘prune hands’.
Pro Tip: Cotton gloves under rubber gloves are much more comfortable.

back to top

Hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes

Get some good sanitizing wipes and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Always be careful, wash your hands, use disinfecting wipes on your tools after your inspections.

back to top

Small hand tools we use everyday

As for my small hand tools I like cheap rechargeable screw-guns and a great set of bits/tips of all the various kinds of screws someone might use on an electrical panel or a furnace cover. Insulated screwdrivers are a great idea to help keep you safe

back to top

Portable power in your vehicle

If you use a cigarette lighter-powered inverter, assure it turns off the power when you turn off the key to the car. If you leave an inverted connection to the starting battery on your car, you will have a dead battery in no time. Be sure it only is on when the engine is running, or have a 2nd battery with an isolator switch.

How do I hook up the inverter? What size cable should I use?
Larger inverters (500 watts and over) must be hard-wired directly to a battery. The cable size depends on the distance between battery and inverter and should be specified in the owner’s manual. When connecting the inverter to the battery always use the shortest length practical to reduce voltage drop.

Inverter Size< 3 ft3ft – 6ft6ft < 10ft
400 Watts864
750 Watts642
1000 Watts421/0
1500 Watts213/0
Source  PowerInverters.com

Battery isolator (or split charge relay) allows an auxiliary battery to be charged by the vehicle’s system, yet not participate in engine starting. It also prevents the starting battery from being run down by your equipment when the engine is off.
The wiring kit is a 2 gauge / 10 feet, be sure to check your application before you chose the gauge and length of wire you need.

back to top

Thermal cameras

I have assembled some useful info on thermal inspections from Homespec 360 and Bob Villa.

What Problems Can Be Captured by Thermal Imaging in a Home Inspection?
Thermal imaging can uncover hidden issues such as insulation problems, air drafts, electrical hazards, and moisture intrusion.

Problems with Energy Efficiency
When a home isn’t properly sealed, the HVAC system works overtime to compensate. You’ll end up wasting money on energy trying to reach the set temperature. In the summertime, your AC will be working twice as hard as the cool air continues to escape.

The reverse is true in the wintertime. Your heating system will strain to keep your home warm as cold air continues to seep into the home. An infrared camera can reveal these problems by showing hidden cracks, gaps, missing insulation, and more.

Problems with Electrical Systems
Electrical systems within your home should always have a relatively consistent temperature. If the infrared camera detects overheated pockets, this may be a sign of an electrical hotspot. Electrical issues shouldn’t be treated lightly as they could start a fire in your home. They should be addressed as soon as they’re detected.

Problems with Moisture
Water damage and moisture issues are dreaded by homeowners. Unfortunately, water damage in homes may go unnoticed for a long time until it is severe. Unless there is excessive flooding or rainfall coming through the roof, this is often the case. Thermal imaging in a home inspection catches water issues right away by detecting unusual cool spots hidden behind walls, floors, and cabinets.

According to Bob Villa, here are the best thermal cameras (dated 12/2021)

BEST OVERALL:
This handheld thermal camera has a high resolution of 320 by 240 pixels and a 3.2-inch color display screen. A comfortable, lightweight grip makes it easy to use without hand fatigue.
BEST VALUE:
FLIR MSX (multi-spectral Dynamic imaging) improves image clarity by embossing visual scene Details on thermal images, providing added context to help you accurately target potential faults and troubleshoot repairs.
BEST WITH WIFI:
FLIR Cx-Series Compact Thermal Cameras are your go-to tools for building inspections, facilities maintenance, HVAC/R, electrical repair, and other troubleshooting applications.
BEST FOR ELECTRICAL CHECKS:
This handheld thermal imager has a temperature range of -4 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit and a 220 by 160 pixel resolution. This high resolution is displayed on the 3.2-inch full-color screen
BEST iPhone mobile accessary:
Powerful Infrared camera mobile accessary with adjustable one fit connector lets you find hidden electrical problems, energy loss, water damage, and other heat related issues. THERMAL RESOLUTION & MEASUREMENT: Record 4,800 pixel IR images at a thermal sensitivity of 100 mK and measure temperatures from -20C to 120C (-4F to 248F).
BEST Android mobile accessary:
FLIR ONE Lightweight accessory that transforms your Android device into a powerful thermal infrared camera Allows you to measure temperature variances Capture and share thermal images and videos. Exclusive MSX Technology blends thermal and visible spectrum for more detail and enhanced resolution

Read more about our Privacy Policy of our Affiliate programs

Disclaimer/Privacy Policy
Who we are
Our website address is: https://sophi.biz

General Disclaimers
We update this info frequently and is kept as current as possible.

Please note that www.sophi.biz and/or the owner are not responsible for the guarantee of any results or delivery of the product.

Please note that all opinions expressed are purely our own. No business is able to pay for a positive endorsement or to be featured on this site or on social media. Information is added as I choose and reviews are always true to my own thoughts.

Affiliate Disclaimers
sophi.biz utilizes affiliate links and programs from time to time. Affiliate or commission-based links will always be labeled as such for transparency and if you make a purchase with one, I do receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I only ever recommend products or services that I truly stand by and no company can buy their way into my website. I would never compromise the integrity of my website or my relationship with my readers for a commission. Making a purchase through an affiliate link is a simple way of allowing me to continue doing what I do here! If I receive a product for free in exchange for a review or social media post, this will always be disclosed to you as well. I will never hide brand partnerships or collaborative work.


back to top