ThermoHAWK 400L Infrared Thermometer - Closer Look and Testing the 400L

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ThermoHAWK 400L Infrared Thermometer
Closer Look and Testing the 400L

Closer Look at the 400L:

After having used other larger IR thermometers, I had a preconceived notion that the ThermoHAWK 400L had a laser sight as well as the IR Thermometer.  Some people mistakenly believe that an IR thermometer equipped with a laser is a laser thermometer and the laser has something to do with the temperature sensor.  In reality the laser is merely a sight - an indicator of where the temperature is being sampled.  With a larger "gun" style thermometer that has an 8:1 distance/spot ratio this may be handy, but for the small, compact ThermoHAWK 200 and 400 series with a distance/spot ratio of 1:1, there is no need for a laser sight.

IR Sensor
IR Sensor


When you press the thermometer button to take a reading there is no red laser dot telling you where you are reading the temperature.  The 400L must be used in close proximity to the item you are measuring and therefore it isn't needed.  If you are measuring the temperature of a BGA RAM chip on a graphics card, you will want to hold the 400L about 1cm away from the chip to get a reading of the entire chip.  This isn't a drawback in my opinion, just something different to get used to if you've used a 8:1 probe before.

The little light on the 400L is what denotes the "L" on the model number.  It is powered by a single "AAA" battery and is quite bright at close range.

 LED Bulb
LED Bulb
 Wicked Bright
Wicked Bright


We took some lux readings with our lux meter as a basis to see how bright this unit is.  At ground zero is measures an impressive 420 lux but with all single LED lights it drops off quickly with distance.  At 6cm it drops off to 100 lux.


General Usage:

We've had the ThermoHAWK 400L around BCCHardware for over a month now and this has become of the most handy tools for testing temperatures of motherboard chipsets, graphics cards and other components in my office.  Because of its nice small size it is easier to take with me on service calls, and fits into my tool bag much better than my previous larger IR thermometer.  As far as accuracy goes, it seems to be spot on and measures within 2% of both contact and other IR thermometers when used properly.  I say, "When used properly" because the tendency is to keep this thermometer farther away from the source that you should.  It was a little difficult for me to get used to the 1:1 distance/spot ratio as I'd had a IR unit that worked at greater distances before.  Now that I've adjusted, I find myself using the other thermometer less and when I do, I hold it too close.

Final Thoughts: 

The 400L comes with the light and a measurement range of -33 to 220°C where the 400/420 comes without the light.  The difference is price is around $30 making the 400L quite a bit more expensive.  Both have the same thermo range, and the same accuracy tolerance.  You are paying $30 for a light and unless you have limited space in your toolbox and don't have room for a ThermoHAWK and a light, you're probably better off saving your money and going for the 400 or 420.

Overall, the 400L is easy to use, has a handy light and will fit in a toolbox or shirt pocket with ease.  It is accurate and has very good batter life thanks to the lack of laser sight - which isn't needed on a 1:1 ratio thermometer.  Although the value of the light is questionable as a $30 add-on, it's a handy unit that I'm happy to keep around.


  • Rugged aluminum construction
  • Simple to use
  • Accurate
  • Wide temperature range
  • Built-in penlight



  • Price for the version with LED light a little steep



 Top Pick

I'd like to thank Q3 Innovations for sending us the ThermoHAWK 400L.  Please take the time to post your thoughts, comments and general feedback regarding this review or other ThermoHAWK products in the forum at the "Comments" link below.