The best borescopes and inspection cameras in 2022

The best borescopes, or inspection cameras, have become must-have accessories for tradesmen and DIYers to inspect drains, pipes and wiring without removing walls and ceilings. They are also essential tools for mechanics and car enthusiasts – offering a clear view of engine parts without hours spent taking it apart (or, if you enjoy a good rebuild, you’ll know it’s for a good cause)..

The applications for a tiny camera which can be negotiated into places you can’t easily get your eyes (and a flashlight) are nearly limitless. Indeed medical endoscopes are very well known, but you can unclench – we will not be giving doctor’s equipment any further discussion here! 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Borescopes can have a rigid arm with a fixed camera, a flexible arm, a soft bendy wire-like extension or a mixture. You must also decide how you would like to view the image; simple optical principles (like periscopes) have now made way for tiny cameras at the business end and some kind of display device at the user’s disposal.

Accessories, too, extend the possibilities; tiny mirrors can re-direct the view sideways, for example, while hooks and magnets can help retrieve lost items from hard-to-reach places. The point is that there is a lot of flexibility, and the choices have become increasingly bewildering as more players have entered this fast-growing market.

That’s why we’ve created this guide to the best borescopes, best snake cameras and best inspection cameras to help you to decide which one to opt for. And remember, to keep checking back as we’ll be adding to this list regularly.

Best borescopes and inspection cameras

(Image credit: Depstech)

01. Depstech Wireless Endoscope

Best borescope for value

Specifications

Type: Snake cable

Resolution: 2,592×1,944px

Cable: 11.5ft / 4m

Probe diameter: 8.4mm

Light: 6 LED

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+Good quality for the price+High resolution +Relatively cheap

Reasons to avoid

Wi-Fi can be a faff with phones

A snake camera you can sneak in behind tricky blocks and baffles, yet is still able to capture sharp full-color images? For many that’s still amazing enough, but the Depstech also does so via Wi-Fi to an Android/iOS app, neatly removing one frustration from cabled devices – putting your phone in the line of fire. 

With the camera on the end of a semi-rigid flex, and a 2,600mAh battery and dual-antenna housing at the other, you can hold your phone (the viewer) somewhere away from the muck. 

Attachments include a magnet, a hook, and a 45-degree mirror, and the system lights its way using six LEDs, which, in practice, affords a focal range from about 5cm (a bit over 2-inches) to eight times that distance. 

(Image credit: Bosch)

02. Bosch GIC 120 C

Best professional inspection camera

Specifications

Type: Flexible snake cable

Resolution: 320 x 240 px

Cable: 1.2m

Probe diameter: 8.5mm

Light: 4 LED

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+Tough outer case+Adjustable light strength+Record to MicroSD+Always-up display option

Reasons to avoid

Rechargeable battery clips fiddlyExpensive initial cost 

This is a solid unit with a rubberized grip ideal for holding in one hand, and the protective bumpers in the design are appreciated. The buttons offer image rotation, variable light intensity and digital magnification, while the 3.5” display offers immediate feedback (though at 320x240px it is not in any sense HD). A detachable hook, magnet or mirror end are included and, to help with orientation, the system can also keep the video’s horizon level even as the camera turns. 

As such, it is ideal for plumbers, electricians and other fitters checking safety issues and attempting to minimize exploratory drilling or removing dropped items from drains. It should also help making quotes and reports thanks to the ability to store images or video onto the included 4Gb MicroSD card and, if it’s easier, output via a USB connection. The flexibility on power is handy for long jobs away from a charging point; you can either use a 10.8v Bosch Li-Ion battery pack or AA cells (in an included adapter). 

(Image credit: Depstech)

03. Depstech DS450-500W Inspection Camera

Best borescope for checking under floorboards

Specifications

Type: Flexible snake cable

Resolution: 5 megapixel

Cable: 16.4ft / 5m

Probe diameter: 8.4mm

Light: 6 LED + 1 for side lens

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+Comfortable to hold+Record stills or video+Packaged with case, card and accessories

Reasons to avoid

Camera connector a little fiddlyDepstech’s dual lens version not much pricierRecorded video is a weird 20fps 

The Depstech DS450 (and its dual-lens siblings built on the same case) feel natural to use in the mobile phone era; the 4.5-inch IPS screen is about the same size and – with the camera cable connecting at the top centre – is easier to hold vertically. The camera itself is well lit and provides good visibility, albeit a little blue looking from the LEDs. The claimed 1.96-200 inch focal range seems somewhat optimistic though, or perhaps the 2592 x 1944 pixel screen is simply too much resolution for the camera.

Although we could quibble about the excessively tight USB socket which connects the camera cable to the main unit, or the slightly squidgy buttons, the 3,300mAh battery supplies a very practical five hours worth of working time. The in-body torch is nice to have too (your phone can stay somewhere clean), so thouse who get the DIY tools out more than a couple of times a year will find this makes a worthwhile step up from a wi-fi phone accessory.

(Image credit: Takmly)

04. Takmly Inspection Camera

Best USB borescope

Specifications

Type: Flexible snake cable

Resolution: 640×480 px

Cable: 16.4ft / 5m

Probe diameter: 5.5mm

Light: 6 LED

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+Cheap solution for Android, PC and Mac+Narrow probe+Simple solution

Reasons to avoid

Doesn’t work on Apple iOS

This is a ‘does what it says on the tin’ device, no more, no less. Sure VGA resolution is somewhat disappointing (especially given it is advertised as 2 megapixels on Amazon), but it can also be had for the price of two or three cups of coffee (London or New York prices, anyway). 

That doesn’t stop it coming with adaptors for traditional, micro and Type-C varieties of USB, and Mac OS and Windows 10 are both capable of recognizing the camera too. 

The big positive is that it broadly ‘just works,’ though you might need to download an app as explained in the manual. Crucially, though, you don’t need to service an additional battery-powered device or connect anything to Wi-Fi – it draws its power from the host device down the semi-rigid flex straight to your device and sends the picture back the same way. The small box at the user end of the cable includes a dimmer wheel for the LED, and the always useful key hook and mirror accessories are included, although they are a little wiry.

(Image credit: Bosch)

05. Bosch Universal Inspect

Handy all-in-one inspection camera

Specifications

Type: Flexible snake cable

Resolution: 320 x 240 px

Cable: 0.95m

Probe diameter: 8mm

Light: 4 LED

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+2.3in color LCD display+Internal memory + microSD card

Reasons to avoid

Limited length of camera cable

This is a neatly-designed inspection camera, made for the DIY market by one of the best-known names in power tools. The flexible camera winds neatly around the chunky main when not in use – and there is a built-in screen for convenience. The camera can store up to four images internally, but you can add to the memory with a microSD card, giving up to 32GB of extra storage). This device has its limits, though. the 0.95m (3ft) cord will only be suitable for some jobs, and the 2.3in screen will not reveal a great amount of detail. However, you do get a magnetic head, hook and mirror attachments in the kit. 

(Image credit: Teslong)

06. Teslong Dual Lens

Best all-in-one borescope

Specifications

Type: Flexible snake cable

Resolution: 1 megapixel

Cable: 16.4ft / 5m

Probe diameter: 5.5mm

Light: 6 LED + 1 for side lens

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+Industrial grade grip+Built-in torch and mirror mode+Dual lens saves time+Adjustable screen angle

Reasons to avoid

Would like to see 5MP option

This more rugged-looking device is one which might stand up to a little more punishment than others on this list. It includes a fairly average monitor, though with 854 x 480 pixels it still beats some of the big brands. We also appreciate the a torch for quick external inspections. 

There are six brightness-adjustable LEDs surrounding the 70-degree angle main camera too, as well as a second lens (with one LED), so rather than fit a mirror attachment you simply flip the camera head to its side-camera mode via the switch not on the display device, but the user-end of the borescope where it attaches to the viewer.

There is also 32Gb of storage to record onto included, and the display is charged by familiar USB. The benefits of recording 1080p video (effectively 2 megapixels) from a 1 megapixel sensor are slightly lost on your humble reviewer, but this is far from the only device to make this faux-pas for, presumably, marketing reasons.

(Image credit: Oiiwak)

07. Oiiwak Industrial Endoscope

Best borescope for tiny gaps

Specifications

Type: Flexible snake cable

Resolution: 1920×1080 px

Cable: 16.4ft / 5m

Probe diameter: 3.9mm

Light: 6 LED

Waterproof: IP68

Reasons to buy

+Smallest probe, with  tiny 3.9mm sensor head+Good in the wet

Reasons to avoid

No mirror attachment

Available in both 1.5m (5ft) and 3.5m (11.5ft) formats, this ultra-slim probe option with 3-10cm focal sweet spot is great for engineers dealing with especially fiddly equipment, and mechanics will like the fact it’s robust construction and built-in monitor prevent the need from getting their phones dirty. 

Image quality is much as you’d expect from a cheap LCD 4.3-inch display – this is not an iPhone OLED – but the IPS affords adequate viewing from an off-angle, and you can rotate the image 360 degrees to view it the way that works for you. 

In lower light, the frame rate on the display suffers, but you can turn up the six LEDs to help. You can also save the images to the supplied 8GB ‘TF Card’ (basically a Micro SD card). If you are suspicious of the quoted sensor resolution the fact the saved image matches it exactly won’t ease your concerns, but the real downside of the smaller-than-usual end-piece is that mirror attachments don’t seem to be available. Oiiwak have also switched to slightly larger sensors on their newer models, so perhaps this is the right choice only where that 1.6mm difference really matters for your purposes

(Image credit: Teslong)

08. Teslong NTG100H rifle borescope

Best borescope for rifle inspection

Specifications

Type: Rigid probe with cable connection

Resolution: 720P @30fps

Cable: 26in

Probe diameter: 5mm

Light: 12 LED

Waterproof: No

Reasons to buy

+USB with Type-C adapter+Good image quality+Measurement markings on probe

Reasons to avoid

Locking collar could be lostCable can restrict rotation of probe

If you’re serious about keeping your guns in excellent condition, the best possible tool is a dedicated borescope, which will allow you to examine the barrel for carbon, copper and powder build-up and other damage. This, in turn, lets you better manage your cleaning and potentially save money without taking risks.

At 26-inches long and, the NTG100H will fit inside any barrel of 0.2 calibre and above. To view the barrel wall, you can attach the mirror head; there is a locking collar needed for this which, annoyingly, is easily misplaced (but two spare mirror heads, which seems generous).

In terms of viewing, you connect via a cable to a Macbook, Chromebook or Windows PC and use the built-in camera software – this does restrict movement a little, though it is long enough. Measurements along the side will help you precisely pinpoint any issues you locate with the probe and there is a white collar you can slide to mark the spot. 

(Image credit: Oiiwak)

09. Oiiwak Wireless Endoscope

Highest resolution borescope

Specifications

Type: Probe with articulated head & wi-fi

Resolution: 4192 x 3104 px

Cable: 5m (16.4ft)

Probe diameter: 14mm

Light: 12 LED

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+12 Megapixel resolution+Autofocus+Flashlight in handle

Reasons to avoid

Risk of getting phone dirty

Oiiwak has pushed the resolution of endoscopes to 12 megapixels, in exchange for a larger probe than found on the more common 1 and 2 megapixel devices. To keep the costs accessible, while offering a display capable of taking advantage of the extra pixels, the firm have opted for wi-fi connection to your phone. For iPhone users this has the side benefit of side-stepping Lightning compatibility issues.

The firm offers 5 and 10m versions and, in a nice design touch have added a 3-LED flashlight into the handle alongside the controls. Focus is automatic (nicer than fixed or manual), while digital zoom of up to 3X is on offer too. This can be handy in certain circumstances (say you reach the end of the endoscope, or a gap narrower than 14mm), but don’t bet on it solving all your problems.

The semi-rigid cable is practical, and the length helpful. The necessary accessories are included and the shutter button easy to use. As ever, the only issue is handling a phone and an endoscope at the same time. 

(Image credit: Vividia)

10. Vividia Ablescome VA-980

Want an articulated probe head and a flexible cable? No problem…

Specifications

Type: Semi-flexible with articulated head

Resolution: 640×480 px

Probe: 65cm (29.5in)

Probe diameter: 8.5mm

Light: 6 LED

Waterproof: IP68

Reasons to buy

+Best for hybrid+Articulation

Reasons to avoid

Adapter needed for iOSLimited length

Vividia has somewhat cornered the market in turning the corner (sorry), in that – in this price-bracket at least – articulating heads are few and far between. Thankfully it has chosen to offer the probe on a semi-flexible arm, as well as the rigid arm of the VA-400 above so you can get the flexible head just about anywhere within reasonable reach. 

The semi-flex can be bent and then retains its shape – a little like some desk lamps – which is handy for certain tasks, but since it’s a mechanical approach, rather than simply a stiff wire, the practical length is limited. 

Vividia has kept on the safe side of that, so the scope should have a good long life, but the reach is much lower than some of the cheaper non-articulated alternatives. 

(Image credit: Extech)

11. Extech HDV650-30G Plumbing VideoScope Kit

A pro borescope for lengthy plumbing runs

Specifications

Type: Semi-flexible

Resolution: NTSC/PAL

Probe: 30m (100ft)

Probe diameter: 25mm (others available)

Light: 12 LED

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+Best borescope for distance+Long cable+Powerful lighting

Reasons to avoid

Standard definition

With 12 built-in lights this versatile but pricey videoscope has an exceptionally long, strong fiberglass-core which packs away into a spool. 

It might not look like much, a kind of coated wire-frame arrangement, but it’s actually much easier to grip than, say, the plastic spools common on extension leads. That thoughtful quality extends to the highly durable display which is both waterproof and oil/chemical resistant too. Not that you need to worry about touch-screens; the controls are all on robust buttons around it. 

Data can be recorded as stills or video to the SD card, or output via the analog connector. Admittedly the design features what feels like a historic connector – the Mini-USB – but this is a professional tool with a professional price and the cost of a USB adapter is hardly relevant. 

(Image credit: Depstech )

12. Depstech DS450 Dual Lens Inspection Camera

Front and side cameras for fast pipe inspections

Specifications

Type: Flexible snake cable

Resolution: 1080P x 2

Cable: 16.4ft / 5m

Probe diameter: 7.9mm

Light: 6 LED + 1 for side lens

Waterproof: IP67

Reasons to buy

+Side-by-side view from dual cameras+Good ergonomics  +Packaged with case, card and accessories

Reasons to avoid

Camera connector a little fiddlyNeed to get camera close to subject

This device has lot of the likeable qualities of the DS450-500 listed above, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it features the same handheld unit with generous 3,300mAh battery (5 hours), gorgeous phone quality display and now-instinctive vertical operation (though the vide can be rotated with a button press).

Where the device differs is the camera & cable which plugs into that super-tight USB socket at the top; this has two lenses affording the advantage of a side view without the need to obscure the forward view with a mirror accessory; in operation you can switch between the two views or see both at once, and the 2 megapixel resolution is good enough for most tasks. On the down-side, the focal limit is a fairly short 10cm so you’ll need to get the camera close to what you’re inspecting, and the price is a little higher, meaning this might be better suited to more specific jobs like pipe inspection. 

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