Best Borescopes & Endoscopes of 2020: Complete Buying Guide
While borescopes and endoscopes are used pretty heavily in the medical field, plenty of other industries – as well as homeowners, DIYers, and hobbyists alike – have found these tools to be pretty useful, too.
In years past, endoscopes were wildly expensive tools that were more than a little bit finicky. They required plenty of training and experience to get to work right, and even when they were cooperative the technology wasn’t there to provide as crystal-clear a picture as they can today.
Thanks to the major leaps forward in innovation (particularly when it comes to compact digital camera technology) today’s top endoscopes are not only light years more advanced than even those released just 10 years ago – but they are more user-friendly and a lot less expensive, too.
Today you can get your hands on some of the best endoscopes (sometimes called snake cameras) for comparatively next to nothing, start using them straight out-of-the-box while getting fantastic results, and apply them to a multitude of situations that people wouldn’t have even considered in the past.
So whether you are a plumber looking to see what may be obstructing pipes without pulling a plumbing system apart, a homeowner for DIYer that wants to see inside your walls without having to pull all of your sheet rock off, or a hobbyist that wants to be able to “dive deep” inside one of your projects without having to take it apart completely these amazing little cameras give you almost x-ray like capabilities – without breaking your bank account along the way.
Take advantage of the inside information we share below to find the best endoscopes on the market today and you’ll never have to worry about ending up with the wrong endoscope again!
Top 8 Borescopes & Endoscopes Reviewed
Here are our picks for the best endoscopes available on the market. No matter what your budget or what you plan on using your endoscope for, we have a pick for you!
1. AnyKit NTS500 Industrial Endoscope
If you are looking for an “all-in-one” kind of endoscope with dual camera capabilities – as well as stunning high definition capture technology built right in – you need look no further than this particular unit.
Leveraging the power of a dual camera head configuration, this endoscope provides 0° and 90° camera capture capabilities on a single probe, allowing you to switch from one directional view to another with nothing more than a press of a single button.
Both of these cameras take advantage of 720p high resolution HD camera configurations, cameras that include 1280 x 7 20 digital image sensors and six individually adjustable LED lights for improved visibility.
Combine all of this with a built-in 5 inch HD screen with crystal clear picture qualities (as well as the ability to capture video clips or steals demand) and it’s easy to see why some many people consider this to be maybe the best endoscope on the market – especially for those outside of the medical realm.
All in all, we consider this to be the very best endoscope available on the market today thanks to its ability to offer top tier technology in a relatively compact form factor – all at a price tag that will not break your bank account into tiny little pieces.
The high-resolution dual camera display is really something special, the inclusion of microphone and speaker units in the unit is a nice little bonus, and the 5 inch HD display gives you real-time feedback and footage while also allowing you to capture video clips and stills with no trouble at all.This is an all-around great endoscope and our best overall pick for sure.
2. DEPSTECH WiFi Borescope 2.0
A lot of more modern borescope/endoscope options are abandoning the built-in video display monitor that our top overall system includes in favor of using your smart phone or your tablet as a “home base” – connecting a wired or wireless camera to those devices and turning them into next generation tools.
This model is very much representative on the newest type of endoscope and it’s easy to see why it is so popular. Incredibly inexpensive (almost 10 times less expensive than our top option), this endoscope uses a wireless enabled Wi-Fi camera that connects to your mobile device to allow for a lot more flexibility than traditional endoscopes bring to the table.
A state-of-the-art 1200p image sensor powers the individual camera at the end of this snake style probe to provide you with crystal clear HD video as well as still images at resolutions between 320 x 240 all the way up to 1600 x 1200 (with a couple of stops in between).
The video and photos you can capture with this endoscope will be crystal-clear thanks to the inclusion of six adjustable blue spectrum LED lights on the probe, allowing you to tinker with the brightness so that you can capture images or video effectively without washing them out.
The 11.5 foot cable is 100% waterproof and operates wirelessly from your device. That means you can have your smart phone in hand while someone else manipulates the endoscope cable – and as long as you both remain on the same Wi-Fi network you don’t have to be in the same room or even anywhere close to one another for crystal-clear captures.
Those that are looking for a quality endoscope without having to spend a mountain of money on a tool they might only use a handful of times a year, especially those that need a flexible endoscope that can be used in a variety of different ways with no issue at all, are going to fall head over heels in love with everything this unit offers.
Sure, there’s a couple of limiting factors (like the reliance on super strong Wi-Fi for optimum performance), but you won’t find a better endoscope at this price point anywhere else.
3. BlueFire Semi-Rigid Flexible Wireless Endoscope
Another of the more modern wireless endoscope options that pair nicely with mobile devices (both Android and iOS devices work wonderfully with this set up), the folks at BlueFire have knocked it out of the park with this semirigid, waterproof, wireless set up.
The engineering under the hood of this endoscope provides for a semirigid cable nearly 33 feet long, long enough to reach almost anything that professionals, homeowners, DIYers, and hobbyists would like to look at – with plenty of room to spare!
The fact that it is a wireless also frees individual users up quite a bit. Someone else can be working and manipulating the camera probe itself (a probe that comes with a two megapixel CMOS high definition camera with three adjustable resolutions and six adjustable LED lights for lowlight situations) while someone you are watching the images being wirelessly transmitted back to your smart phone or tablet.
Because it works off of Wi-Fi capabilities you’ll need to have a relatively strong signal for this device to work, and you obviously need both devices operating off of the same Wi-Fi network. The cool thing about this unit though is that you can create a Wi-Fi tether set up with your smart phone or your tablet, connect this endoscope to it, and use a Wi-Fi signal you create through your mobile data plan to get the job done where traditional Wi-Fi does not reach.
Not quite as flexible, not quite as feature-rich, and not quite as well-regarded as our top budget purchase this endoscope is the next best thing at that sub $50 price point and certainly one of the better modern endoscope design options available on the market today.
4. YINAMA Industrial Endoscope
This “all-in-one” endoscope is special because it features the longest focal distance in the industry, with a focal range that stretches from between just 1.6 inches to 198 inches. This means that the camera technology featured in this endoscope is capable of surveilling much larger inspection areas from further distances than ever before – allowing for real “close-up” style inspections without having to physically push camera probe right up to the areas you want to see.
This is a big deal for endoscope technology because so many other options out there require you to do exactly that – push-up your camera close to the area that you want to have a better look at. This sounds good in theory, but in practice what actually happens is you end up blurring the area you’re trying to inspect closely and the endoscope becomes a lot less useful.
On top of that, this tool features a 4.3 inch QVGA color screen that is high definition enough to feel like you are physically looking at the images and videos your endoscope is recording. This is all possible because of the 1080p HD camera set up in this particular model, an industrial camera solution that uses CMOS high visibility sensors as well as six adjustable LED lights to illuminate whatever you are trying to get a closer look at.
The lithium-ion battery technology provides up to six hours of continuous running time, and because of next-generation quick charging capabilities you can replenish a totally dead battery back to full charge inside of 60 minutes or less.
Storage can be expanded up to 32 GB with a TF memory card, allowing you to capture still images in high definition or quick high definition video clips for playback on other devices – including smart phones, tablets, and your computer.
This industrial level endoscope is fantastic for fieldwork, especially when it comes to engineering inspections. Those that work on condenser tubes, heat exchangers, pipelines, steam and gas turbines, and other industrial equipment are going to find the compact form factor and high definition display of this unit to be a real standout as well.
5. ROTEK Industrial Endoscope
Not everyone needs an industrial endoscope that can probe the furthest corners of the universe, but are instead looking for something that can provide a quick and easy to maneuver probing solution for areas just out of reach for just out of sight.
That’s where this endoscope comes into play.
Specifically designed with a 5 m (16.4 foot) camera cable probe – a probe that is IP 67 waterproof and made out of nearly indestructible components to get into areas other endoscopes may have struggled with – this is the kind of tool you want to use on smaller projects where you don’t need a pile of cable bunching up in your hands or at your feet.
The two megapixel 1080p high definition camera provides a level of crystal clear picture quality you’d expect from a top-of-the-line model like this, and CMOS camera sensor built right into this unit guarantees that even in lowlight situations your images are never too dark or too washed out by the LED adjustable lights attached near the head of this probe.
Still images and video images can be effortlessly captured through this set up, though if you want to do so you’re going to have to invest in an extra TF storage card to do so. Unlike some of the other endoscope options on this list this set up does not include a TF storage card right out of the box, though it does support up to 32 GB of storage with this accessory.
A real standout feature for this model is the semi-rigidity of the cable and its design. It’s able to hold position quite well with extra stability compared to other options but still is movable and flexible enough to get into all kinds of narrow and otherwise hard to reach spaces.
Well-built, well-designed, and perfect for use out in the field, at home, when working on automotive problems or when tackling HVAC systems this is a quality endoscope designed with compact and “short-range” usage in mind.
6. LIMINK WiFi Borescope Wireless Camera
There aren’t a lot of modern endoscope/borescope options that feature wireless capabilities like this one that also include nearly 50 feet of semirigid flexible cable, giving you almost all of the probing and scoping capabilities of the “all-in-one” units with the myriad of benefits that these modern separate options include as well.
The cable for this endoscope is 49.2 feet long and features a semirigid design that you can snake into almost any type space imaginable, including around tight or hard corners – but it’s also lightweight enough to be effortlessly held and manipulated with a single hand while you hold your smart phone or tablet to monitor the camera feedback in the other hand.
The 2.0 megapixel HD camera features dimmable LED lights (six individual light sources) as well as high definition zoom capabilities of upwards of 400%, all of which – alongside every other camera control option – can be easily manipulated directly on your smart phone or tablet through the included free application.
This model creates its own Wi-Fi network that you can use to connect to so that you don’t have to rely on external sources of Wi-Fi, though you could also create hotspots on your mobile devices if you find the internal Wi-Fi signal to be weak or getting bullied by other stronger Wi-Fi networks in the local area you’re using this device.
This modern endoscope/borescope is another one of our favorites, particularly of the new variants of this tool, not only because of the crystal clear picture it is capable of capturing thanks to the high-quality sensor built into the HD camera but also because it is flexible, strong, and incredibly waterproof.
You’ll find the mobile applications available for Android devices and iOS devices to be effortless to use as well as regularly updated, which adds new features and new functionality to this endoscope on a regular basis. This is about is future proof a tool as you’ll find on the market today.
7. DEPSTECH 10 FT Waterproof LCD Borescope
A bit of a hybrid between the “traditional” all-in-one endoscope options we’ve reviewed above as well as the more modern wireless options, this particular unit looks a lot like a space-age fishing pole and offers the compact form factor of the wireless units with the control and capability of the all-in-one systems.
The camera unit on this set up measures in at just 8.2 mm, giving it an opportunity to probe tighter spaces and areas that some of the larger cable cameras cannot get to. It is still capable of producing high definition video at 640x480 resolution – though it isn’t quite as HD as 720p or 1080p HD cameras we’ve reviewed above provide.
The 3.5” color LCD screen allows you to directly view everything that the camera is recording with the ability to pop the viewing unit off of the pistol grip style handle if you need to more closely inspect the feedback. Everything from tip to tail on this unit is IP 67 waterproof, allowing it to not only comfortably navigate internal plumbing structures with running water but also to plumb the depths of swimming pools, streams, and other natural bodies of water as well.
The 10 foot cable is either going to be just the right length for those working on smaller projects or to navigate tighter confines or a little bit restrictive for those that need just a bit extra cable and eyes around corners a bit further out.
Walking a fine line between the compact units that operate wirelessly when paired to mobile devices and the all-in-one units that are more traditionally the endoscope/borescope space, this is a top-tier piece of technology for those working in smaller confines and that do not need their cable probe to reach down the end of the block.
8. Teslong Ultra Slim Borescope with 5.5mm Micro Inspection Camera
This particular endoscope is one of the most popular options for those outside of the medical industry for good reason – it’s one of the most capable, flexible, and high-performing endoscopes you’ll find on the market today at a very fair price point.
The HD camera on this particular model measures in at just 5.3 mm in diameter (0.21 inches), making it ridiculously small and compact and about 1/3 smaller than your traditional 8 mm diameter cameras you will find on so many other options. This allows this camera probe to go places that other cameras cannot, but also gives it a lot more flexibility and a lot more versatility in reaching tight corners and hard-to-find areas as well.
The cable on this endoscope is compact, too. It’s just a 9.84 foot cable (with a slightly longer than 3 foot version available for those that want a really short cable), which is a real boost for those that don’t want to have to worry about cable management on some of the other endoscopes on the market with cables that can get to 30, 40, and even 50 feet or longer (like the ones we highlighted above).
If you’re working in tight spaces and need the maneuverability that shorter cable endoscopes offer this is going to be right up your alley.
The LCD readout actively displays footage from the camera itself on a 3.5 inch display, making it slightly smaller than most of today’s popular smart phones but certainly large enough to get a good idea of what you are up probing or surveilling. The entire unit is powered by a 2600 mh battery pack featuring lithium-ion technology that offers up to five hours of continuous runtime command with charging technology it can replenish a totally dead battery in about 60 minutes or so.Video and still image capture is possible directly to the 8 GB microSD card included with your purchase, with expandable memory allowing this onboard storage to go all the way up to 128 GB (though you have to purchase those kinds of cards separately).
If you’re going to be working in tight spaces and need a quality endoscope that can get you up close and personal with a smaller camera than what is traditionally available in this technology – all without sacrificing video image or still image quality – this model is going to be perfect for you.
Some may find the slightly shorter than 10 foot cable to be a little bit restrictive, but those that are looking for a compact and highly maneuverable endoscopes are going to be more than pleased with what this brings to the table.
What to Consider Before Buying an Endoscope or Borescope
We've given you our picks for the best endoscopes and borescopes on the market. Here's some of the criteria we looked at, plus what you should consider before buying an endoscope.
As you can see from our list of the top eight best borescopes and endoscopes available on the market today there are plenty of options to pick and choose from, some of which are going to be better suited to your needs than others.
To help you narrow things down quite a bit we’ve put together a couple of key factors you want to consider before you pull the trigger on this kind of purchase. Run through this quick checklist before you make an investment in a new endoscope and you’ll always end up with the right technology going forward!
How Do You Plan on Using Your Endoscope?
How you plan on using your new endoscope is going to influence almost everything about your purchase, so you’ll want to get as concrete about your expectations as you can before you start researching options.
Those that need a new endoscope to make their lives as a professional a lot easier on a daily basis are going to have different expectations and different requirements for this tool than homeowners or DIYers that might only use their endoscope a handful of times every year – if that.
Really think about how you expect to use your new tool going forward and it’ll make choosing from the myriad of options available a lot easier right out of the gate.
What Kind of Budget Are You Working With?
We shared eight different top endoscope options that run the gamut of price points in this product category, showing that it’s possible to get your hands on a quality endoscope regardless of what your budget might be – but it is still important to establish your budget ahead of time.
Again, how you plan on using your endoscope and the specific features you’ll need it to include will have a huge impact on the budget you’re likely to bring to the table when you go to purchase this technology.
Those that need all kinds of bells and whistles and next level durability/flexibility from their endoscope should expect to spend quite a bit more than those that need a pretty basic or bare-bones endoscope every now and again.
Get your budget sorted straightaway and you will be able to narrow your choices, too.
Camera Resolution Makes a Big Difference
The camera resolution of your endoscope is going to have a huge impact on its usefulness. This is where you’re going to want to spend the bulk of your money, getting an endoscope with a camera resolution that is as high as possible – particularly in lowlight situations.
There are a lot of ways to extend the flexibility of your endoscope after you have purchased it but the camera resolution it comes with right out of the box is as permanent as can be. Always trend towards too much resolution (if that’s possible) than enough.
Cable Length and Flexibility Are Key
Some endoscopes can be extended with extra cables and aftermarket components but you always run the risk of sacrificing some clarity and stability when you start to tinker with the setup your endoscope comes with right out of the gate.
Look for a tool that offers just a little bit more length and flexibility than what you anticipate needing and you’ll usually find that it can handle almost anything you throw at it. If you do need extra length or flexibility look for quality aftermarket components that you can trust and rely on, but your initial investment in a slightly longer or more “bendy” endoscope will usually pay off.
Focus on the Batteries
Many endoscope options today include external power packs, run off of your standard AA batteries (sometimes rechargeable options are included), or have an internal powerpack that can be recharged on a regular basis.
External power packs that can be replaced as battery life fatigues (perfectly natural for this kind of technology) and systems that use AA batteries are pretty future proof in a way that internal power packs aren’t, if only because your internal powerpack is going to be nearly impossible to replace without replacing the entire endoscope.
Battery life is another big piece of the puzzle when you’re shopping for this kind of tool. You don’t want to have an endoscope that choose through batteries left and right (increasing the cost of operation through the roof) just like you don’t want to have to be constantly recharging or leaving your endoscope plugged in.
Today’s lithium-ion battery technology is better than it’s ever been before, with these batteries offering top-tier performance and longevity that you aren’t going to get out of even the most advanced NiCad setup.