Milwaukee M12 Thermal Imager Review (2024)

Milwaukee Tools is a leader in the power tools industry for their innovative products. For over a century now, their products have managed to be on top of the game in terms of offering trade-specific solutions for increased productivity.

The M12 line is a series of advanced thermal tools. Milwaukee presents us with their most intuitive device; the Milwaukee M12 2260-21. It is a thermal imager complete with software to help users generate reports and comprehensive analysis of thermal images for building and machinery inspections.

This is a great thermal imaging camera for HVAC technicians, electrical contractors, building inspectors, plant maintenance teams, and energy auditors. It is a handy tool when you want to diagnose problems with drives, electric circuits, motors, chillers, handlers, and other mechanical equipment as well.

Features of the Milwaukee M12 2260-21 Thermal Camera

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The Milwaukee 2260 is a professional grade tool with all the features you will need to make the capturing of thermal images much easier. It comes at an outstanding value, with better performance than other models in its class.

User-Friendly Operation

When you first hold the Milwaukee 2260 in your hands, you can tell it is a rugged tool built to withstand everyday use on a worksite. It doesn’t take time to master its functions as it is very intuitive. It comes with five buttons on a directional pad, for simple navigation.

This tool is designed to capture images with the pull of the trigger. It has a pistol style grip where the trigger is right at your fingertips. The grip is over-molded with rubber to offer a tight grip. You can even use it with one gloved hand.

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This thermal camera takes pictures and instantly stores them on the large capacity 2GB SD Card. You not only can capture a thermal image, but the trigger also allows the taking of visual pictures for reference. It also comes with a flashlight so that you can illuminate dark objects and find your way in a low-lit building.

Crisp, High-Resolution Images

The Milwaukee 2260 lets you capture thermal and regular images. This thermal sensor boasts 160 x 120 pixels. The images are stored in JPEG format (but not combined 2-1 like the Flir cameras). It also features dual sense pixel technology where it automatically adjusts each pixel to reduce hazy imaging and blurring towards the edges.

It helps you to visualize the image since the readings are accurate and reliable. You will be able to detect irregularities early and even avoid damages in crucial components for your customers.

Wide Temperature Range

The Milwaukee 2260 has a temperature range from 14 to 6620F. It is complemented by a high 60 frame per second refresh rate. Every professional will appreciate that it can detect changes in heat so fast that you can make conclusive readings which helps to ensure timely repairs.

This camera is thermal sensitive to 0.10C at 300C. This allows the imager to pick up temperatures using the high sensitivity mode, especially when working in environments where objects are roughly the same temperature.

Heavy-Duty Construction

Milwaukee makes robust tools, and the 2260 model is no exception. It has a media door which seals the SD card and USB connections. The door is a protective rubber case which keeps the interior components safe from damage if you drop the device. It also comes with a hinged camera-style lens cover. It is always attached to the camera whether the lens is uncovered or not.

This thermal camera has an IP54 rating. It can withstand direct water splashes from all directions, and it is fully protected from dust. You have a tool that will last in excellent condition no matter where the job takes you.

LCD Display

Milwaukee 2260 displays readings on a color LCD with 640x480 pixel resolution. You can choose from rainbow, gray, and iron palettes. You will like the rainbow for most daytime readings and gray for night vision. The screen is 3.5 inches wide, making it super easy to read. You can share the readings with colleagues at work as they will also be able to see what has been captured.

The simple screen layout minimizes distractions so that you can focus on taking the best images.

Rechargeable Batteries

This device operates using one red Lithium-Ion battery. It has a quick recharge time of only 30 minutes, and the battery can run for up to 4 hours. Some users have noted that it is a little power hungry and it can go through one battery in around 2 hours. But it has an auto-off to conserve the energy where the LCD will turn off after 5 minutes and the entire thermal imager will turn off after 20 minutes when not being used.

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Wide Field of View

This device has a nice sighting area. Its field of view is 25x19 degrees. You will have sufficient measuring area especially when you need to detect a pattern over a large area. It does not affect the radiation density so you will always have accurate readings even when you are far from the object. With the Milwaukee 2260, you can take measurements from as close as 4 inches.

Level and Span Scaling

This camera offers a manual focus for level and span scaling. You can easily find objects within a specific temperature span within its field of view.

Manual ranging is always great when you want a narrow span. It comes in handy when you want to track the location of a heating element in an electric circuit especially when you know the difference in temperature between an insulated and a non-insulated area.

The Milwaukee Software

Making reports detailing your thermal inspections is as crucial as capturing great infrared images. Milwaukee offers thermal imaging software that makes it easier to analyze information and make conclusions from your findings.

This device comes complete with a thumb drive, CD, 2GB SD card, and a cord to connect the camera to your computer. You will just need to install the software from the CD by inserting the CD into your computer. The user interface is straightforward, and even new users will be able to navigate.

You can then proceed to load the pictures from the camera or use the thumb drive to transfer files. The program allows you to allocate a name to the customer and the location of the job. After uploading images, you can make side to side comparisons of the thermal and visual picture to help in spotting the location of a problem.

You’ll also be able to include information about the situation so that you can get back to customers with the available solutions for the said job.

After writing the report, the program allows running, printing, and creating high-quality PDF documents.

Common Uses of theMilwaukee 2260

  • Electrical Inspections:With the Milwaukee 2260, you can check for electrical problems in PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), know which circuit board is consuming the most power, find overheated components in substations, check for loose and hot connections before they damage equipment, know if heating is working correctly and many others.
  • Preventive Maintenance:This thermal camera will makes it easy to check the efficiency of HVAC systems and where there may be leaks in the systems. You will know the level of heat being generated by equipment so that you can perform maintenance tasks before they start overheating causing more severe issues. This goes for pumps, motors, refrigerators, bearings, hydraulic systems, etc.

Limitations of the Milwaukee 2260

  • Autocalibration freezes the Camera:This unit tends to auto-calibrate every few minutes. This leads to the freezing of the screen for about 2 seconds, and when you attempt to take a picture at that time, the display will freeze for around 15 seconds. This, in turn, delays the time taken to store the image which can cause some issues if you are unaware of this.


The Milwaukee M12 2260 gives you a wide range of applications for such a small unit. It is a highly sought model for professionals in the building and construction inspection industries. It has the standard resolution that gives you true images. Operating this camera is effortless. It captures fairly detailed thermal images very quickly and easily. If you are looking for a thermal camera with a wide temperature range, built-in visual camera, and with rugged construction, Milwaukee 2260 is an ideal pick.

Milwaukee M12 Thermal Imager Review (2024)
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