Nothing beats the importance of an inspection camera in a DIY or professional practice. This is because such cameras enable you to peep into places you’d otherwise not access. On top of that, provided you have a well-made unit, you can even view objects under water. So, let’s just say that a good inspection camera is one that:
- Is powerful enough to last long
- Has a great, flexible cable
- Provides great quality videos and images
So, how do you go about finding the best inspection camera? Below is a run-down of the top 10 options as rated by unbiased DIY tools’ editors.
Whether you’re thinking of sticking to the old LCD inspection camera models or smartphone powered ones, there’s something for you. Just take a look at the options below so you can make an informed choice.
|1||Depstech Wireless EndoscopeName||5.12 x 4.92 x 1.77 inches||9 ounces|
|2||Teslong Industrial-Grade||5.12 x 3.54 x 1.57 inches||15.1 ounces|
|3||Vividia 9mm Digital Flexible Inspection Camera||47.1 x 3.2 x 2 inches||7.7 ounces|
|4||DBPower 8.2mm Inspection Camera||14 x 11.2 x 3.4 inches||32.8 ounces|
|5||Fantronics 5 Meter Endoscope||4.7 x 4.3 x 1.5 inches||0.01 ounces|
|6||DEWALT DCT412S1||14.38 x 21 x 5.12 inches||132.8 ounces|
|7||The Extech BR80 Borescope||8.3 x 3.3 x 2.4 inches||34.4 ounces|
|8||Extech BR100 Borescope Inspection Camera||14.17 x 3.15 x 6.3 inches||24.32 ounces|
|9||RIDGID 40043 Hand-Held Borescope||15 x 4.7 x 14.6 inches||73.92 ounces|
|10||Whistler Diagnostic Inspection Camera||12.6 x 8.03 x 2.44 inches||24.8 ounces|
1. Depstech Wireless Endoscope 4331891326 Inspection Camera
This is one of the latest inspection cameras that employ modern technology to the fullest. In fact, the system is designed to work perfectly on both the iPhone iOS and Google’s Android.
So, you don’t really need to have a fully-fledged LCD screen in place. As long as you have a smartphone, you only need to invest in only a part of the system.
The remaining task is to download an app and pair it up with your device. Still, this unit comes with 11.5 feet cable and a handy 8.5 mm diameter camera.
This cable is bendable which also means you can customize it for use even in confined spaces. Last but not least, this camera comes with a built-in premium camera chip.
This chip provides you with a 30 FPS image capturing power. In other words, it gives you the freedom to view high-quality videos and images with unbeatable smoothness.
- Great image quality and brightness
- Suitable for all-weather use
- Convenient wireless operability
- Extra-long cable
- Available in great prices
- Can only be connected to the latest Smartphone devices e.g. iOS 6.0 upward
2. Teslong Industrial-Grade Endoscope System
If you don’t like the idea of taking chances with mobile phone technology, this unit from Teslong might resonate with your needs. It comes with a 9.8 feet highly flexible and water-proof cable.
Besides that, it’s loaded with a handy LCD screen which measures a generous 3.5-inch. What really drew us to this compact inspection camera is that it comes with 6 adjustable LED lights.
The LED lights are a perfect bet when inspecting dimly lit rooms. So, you can even use it to view inside the ceiling in high clarity.
Besides that, this tool comes with a powerful Li-ion battery with a 2600mAh capacity. The battery provides you with a whopping 6-hours continuous run time.
Last but not least, this machine boasts the ability to deliver high-quality and smooth images. In fact, it includes a TF card with a generous capacity of up to 32GB.
- The ability to capture reasonably high-quality images
- The LED lights are adjustable
- Easy to use
- Long battery life
- Well-made waterproof camera
- Provides handy accessory tools including a hook, magnet, and mirror
- Doesn’t provide a way to adjust image contrast digitally
3. Vividia 9mm Digital Flexible Inspection Camera
If the Teslong inspection camera doesn’t sound like something you’d like to invest in, the Vividia 9mm might offer an alternative.
In fact, it’s one of the under 100 inspection cameras that offer a generally great distribution of features. For instance, it comes with a generous 2.4-inch LCD monitor which allows you to conduct a detailed inspection.
In fact, you can use it even under water.
To provide you with unparalleled advantage, this unit comes with a 3.3 feet long cable. The cable can be bent to conform to different shapes and also access hard-to-reach areas.
With the 2.4-inch LCD monitor, you can even view live video content. In fact, you can play around with this camera to enjoy an up-close view of extremely tight spaces.
Moving on, its waterproof camera head is meant to survive wet environments. That’s in addition to it coming with a magnet, hook, and mirror which allows for a side view.
Last but not least, this Vividia inspection camera is powered by 4 AA batteries. As you know, AA cameras are pretty cheap and easy to find.
- Handy LCD monitor for a detailed inspection
- Long flexible cable
- Ability to add an extension to the cable
- Designed to operate even in wet environments
- Only offers 4 view angles
4. DBPower 8.2mm Inspection Camera
Are you tired of viewing below-par images using your inspection camera? This one boasts the ability to deliver 3MP images.
Of course, that’s not as high as some smartphones do, but it’s just enough to help you pick all the tiny details.
The unit comes with a separable monitor. This provides you with a generous 3.5-inch viewing space translating into a wider field of view.
Another plus with this unit is that it comes with a 1.5 meter-unit. This is quite long and generally allows you to operate the machine in all kinds of environment.
And what’s the use of having a wider field of view if you can’t zoom in? The DBPOWER comes with a 4X zooming function. That’s precisely all you need to inch closer to every tiny detail.
- Best suited for car engines and plumbing works
- Hardy and tough in design for all-weather use
- Its separable monitor allows for the unit to be adapted to different work environments
- An excellent and clear field of view
- Zooming capability
- Delivers HQ 720p videos
- A bit pricey
- The user instructions could have been better
5. Fantronics 5 Meter Endoscope Inspection Camera
If you thought the Depstech Wireless Endoscope was the only cool kid around, you’re in for a surprise. The Fantronics provides you with Smartphone connectivity.
As you know, the use of a smartphone removes the need for an LCD monitor. The overall effect of this is that it lowers the cost of acquiring the entire machine.
For that reason, the Fantronics goes for a price that’s almost 10 times cheaper than the DBPower 8.2mm. That’s despite it coming with a 5-meter cable while the DBPower provides a 1.5 meter.
So, as long as you have a good smartphone, the Fantronics can end up being your knight in shining armor.
The next thing we like about this unit is that it has a powerful CMOS camera. In fact, it delivers a 1280×720 resolution which enables you to capture images with as high as 2 million pixels.
And just to make sure that the entire system is hardy, it comes loaded with a 5M cable. You also get an 8.0 mm camera and a 360-degree rotation angle-view.
- This is a cheap inspection camera
- Offers great quality of features
- Easy-to-use cable that fits on any smartphone
- Offers extra-long inspection cable that’s also semi-rigid
- Comes with a waterproof camera
- Doesn’t come with an LCD screen
- Only works with Smartphones and not feature phones
6. DEWALT DCT412S1 with 5.8mm Inspection Camera
Dewalt is known for many things and compromise is certainly not one of them. So, how does their DCT412S1 inspection camera model fare?
Well, first off, it comes with a 5.8 mm cable which enables you to inspect even extra tight areas. On top of that, it comes with an easy-to-use wireless screen.
So, instead of relying on your phone, this unit provides you with a dedicated LCD monitor. Worth noting, however, is that this monitor is wireless for flexible use.
Another major plus with the Dewalt is that it comes with a Micro SD card which helps you store all your crucial images and videos.
The icing on the cake is that this inspection camera is fully-loaded with a 12-volt battery. This is a Li-ion battery with a pretty long run-time.
Another feather in this unit’s cap is that it offers a 3X zooming capability. Add that to the fact that this unit delivers a 320 x 480 resolution and you have an incredibly competitive deal.
- Hardy and designed to operate efficiently
- Extra thin cable for accessing tight areas
- Customizable screen for added user flexibility
- Provides a 3X zoom capability
- Too expensive yet offers basic features
- Average image resolution
7. The Extech BR80 Borescope Inspection Camera
If you don’t mind coughing up a few more dollars for a compact inspection camera, the BR80 is a sure win for you. Weighing a paltry 10oz and with an operating time of 1.5 hours, this is a handy tool to invest in.
One thing that drew our attention to it is that it offers a 72-degree viewing angle. That’s just wide enough to allow you to view around.
Yet another awesome feature of this machine is that it comes with a 1-meter gooseneck cable. This cable is well made and can retain its configured shape at all times.
Most importantly, the unit is waterproof. In fact, it is rated as an IP67 camera which means it can handle anything nature throws at it.
That said, we’re still concerned that this unit is still a bit too pricey. We’re however glad to note that it comes with a free metal detector as a plus.
- Compact, handheld design
- Light in weight and easy to use
- Excellent, dimmable LED lights
- Reliable 2.4-inch LCD full-color monitor
- A bit too expensive
- Can easily blow up the circuit board of you insert the batteries wrongly
8. Extech BR100 Borescope Inspection Camera
If the BR80 doesn’t sound like a cool kid to you, it’s time to take a closer look at the BR100 from the same manufacturer. Just like the BR80, it comes with a 17mm camera.
In addition, it’s fully-powered by a flexible gooseneck cable that spans 1 meter long. On top of that, it’s loaded with a 2.4-inch LCD monitor for added convenience.
This unit is also an IP67 rated machine. That means you can count on it to deliver high resolution viewing even in areas with water.
What if you want to view in some dimly lit areas? The Extech comes with two LED lamps. The lamps are dimmable which means you can indirectly adjust the quality of images relayed to you.
- Powerful gooseneck cable
- Water-proof IP67 camera
- Great LCD lamp power
- Well-designed handle and LCD monitor
- Its resolution power is a bit low and, therefore, not ideal for automotive work
- Wish it had a larger LCD screen
9. RIDGID 40043 Hand-Held Borescope, Inspection Camera
If you’re looking for something hardy and reliable we think this Borescope might be a good find. But don’t take our word for it – let’s showcase some of its features to you.
First off, it comes with a camera that allows for a 180-degree image rotation. This flexibility adds onto its LCD display’s viewing space which is currently limited at 2.4-inch.
Another awesome plus with this camera is that it comes with a Video Out feature which comes in handy in transferring live images. You can use it to transfer content to external devices as you like.
Last but not least, this unit comes with a 3-foot RCA cable. Unfortunately, we think a 3-foot cable is a tad too short. And to make matters worse, the manufacturer doesn’t include the capacity to extend this cable.
So, if looking for additional cable length, you might want to remove this from your list. However, if you’re simply looking for an energy-efficient, compact, and hardy inspection camera, this would be a big win for you.
- Great waterproof features
- Built with bright LEDs
- The camera has an anodized head for added durability
- Handy, blow-molded case
- Limited cable size
10. Whistler Diagnostic Inspection Camera
The Whistler may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-end inspection cameras but it’s a winner in its own right.
It comes with a 2.4-inch LCD monitor which relays colored images. That’s precisely all you need to make the most of your career.
Moving on, the Whistler comes with a 9.0mm cable. This is thin enough to fit in most tiny spaces. It, however, may not rival the DEWALT DCT412S1 which comes with a 5.8mm cable.
Another factor worth noting is that this inspection camera comes with a 3-foot flexible cable. That’s about 1 meter long which is ordinarily enough to last you for most of your work life.
However, the limited cable size might disappoint you if you’re looking for an ultra-long cable. On a positive note, despite this being an inspection camera under $75, it provides you with a video output jack.
We generally think that, at its price, the Whistler presents you with a reasonably competitive deal.
- Great for hard-to-reach areas
- Has IP67 waterproof rating meaning it can be used in different conditions
- A reasonably good 48-degree camera with a wide-angle view
- The quality of images could be better
What’s an Inspection Camera?
As the name suggests, this is a camera that is used for inspection purposes. For example, when you want to check the quality and integrity of something.
Basically, the camera acts like a telescope, borescope or a microscope. However, it usually runs into small places and edges. As such, even if the target areas are far away, you can still see them clearly with an inspection camera.
Generally, inspections cameras are available in different types depending on the usage. Some are designed for mechanical related jobs. Others are best suited for checking the quality of pumps, pipes, radiators, and other applications.
What’s more? These cameras come with different features. For instance, some boast image rotation and digital zoom for better observation while others allow you to capture still objects. Also, certain cameras are built to be connected via smartphones and others have a built-in LCD screen.
More importantly, the cameras are available in many varieties including handheld types, standard camera types, and compact camera systems.
Who needs an Inspection Camera?
Generally speaking, inspection cameras are not for everybody. Therefore, whether you need an inspection camera or not largely depends on your profession.
For example, if you’re a designer, plumber, mechanic or you love fixing stuff like machinery, you need an inspection camera.
Also, if you’re the DIY kind of person, a good inspection camera is just the tool you need. It will help you make sure that everything you fix is working as though it was fixed by a professional.
The Buying Guide
As we’ve seen above, an inspection camera should comprise several features. For instance, it should have a tiny camera, a flexible cable, and a screen. Therefore, the next time you’re shopping for one, these are the key features you should always focus on.
Thanks to modern technology, you can always find a camera that’s tiny enough. This way, you can fit it into hard-to-reach areas and still capture high-quality images. Our general suggestion is that you should go for a unit that delivers 720p and above. Of course, you can settle for something a bit less than that though it’d limit the image resolution.
The choice of cable you go for should always be based on the kind of work you do. But generally, you should try your level best to get an under 10mm cable. The tinier the cable, the easier it is to use even on ultra-tiny holes. However, before you settle for the tiniest cable in town, make sure it comes with a powerful camera to boot.
The LCD Screen
You can either choose to go for a camera that allows you to use your smartphone as the screen or one that comes with an LCD screen. Smartphone-based inspection cameras tend to be cheaper than LCD-based ones. As far as LCD screens are concerned, it’s important to note that 3.5-inch screens tend to provide a wider field of view than 2.4-inch ones.
If you wish to get clear images, you need to get a camera with a higher resolution. Most inspection cameras boasts 320 x 240, 640 x 480, and 1280 x 720 resolutions. However, for a better experience, you should consider inspection cameras with adjustable resolutions.
Also worth considering is the video output of the camera. This feature determines how the image or signal will be remotely transferred from the inspection camera to the display unit. It also determines what kind of cable you need to help you transmit the signals to other devices. Therefore, the best camera for inspection should have a quality video output.
If you plan to use the inspection camera in remote areas, you should consider getting a unit with good indicator lights. Generally, LED lights are the most recommended for the job. They are so effective at illuminating the work area for optimal visibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s have a look at some of the frequently asked questions different people ask about the best inspection cameras.
What’s a borescope inspection camera?
Simply put, a borescope may comprise a flexible or rigid working length. It can also have an optical system consisting of a rod lens system, relay lens system, and fiber optic image guide.
What’s is the best inspection camera for beginners?
There are so many options to choose from but we recommend the Depstech Wireless Endoscope 4331891326 and Teslong Industrial-Grade Endoscope system.
Is there any difference between an endoscope and a Borescope?
Yes there is. Endoscope inspection cameras have thinner outer diameter compared to that of borescopes. Also, an endoscope camera is more flexible than a borescope.
Which One Is The Best?
If you’re looking for an opportunity to get the best value for money, we’d recommend the Depstech Wireless Endoscope 4331891326. It’s cheap and doesn’t compromise on quality. The only downside is that it’s entirely smartphone-based and only works best on the latest devices. Otherwise, if you’re thinking of sticking to the older LCD-screen models, we’d recommend going for the Teslong Industrial-Grade Endoscope System with Waterproof Gooseneck.
There are different kinds of cameras on the markets nowadays. Therefore, to find the best inspection camera in town, it’s good to invest in one that suits your work-life and convenience. We hope that the 10 most popular cameras in 2018 discussed above provide you with at least one option worth trying out.