Surface thermal lens is a highly sensitive photothermal technique to measure low absorption losses of various solid materials. In such applications, the sensitivity of surface thermal lens is a key parameter for measuring extremely low absorption. In this paper, we experimentally investigated the influence of probe beam wavelength on the sensitivity of surface thermal lens for measuring the low absorptance of optical laser components. Three probe lasers with wavelength 375 nm, 633 nm, and 1570 nm were used, respectively, to detect the surface thermal lens amplitude of a highly reflective coating sample excited by a cw modulated Gaussian beam at 1064 nm. The experimental results showed that the maximum amplitude of surface thermal lens signal obtained at corresponding optimized detection distance was inversely proportional to the wavelength of the probe beam, as predicted by previous theoretical model. The sensitivity of surface thermal lens could, therefore, be improved by detecting surface thermal lens signal with a short-wavelength probe beam. (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.