Many people are not aware that inspection cameras allow them to go where nobody has ever been before. Unless you’re a mouse, you can’t sneak into a crevice, explore under your bed or see what lies underneath that crack in your flooring. But now you can, thanks to these ingenious gadgets.
However, not all inspection cameras are made equal. We tested a whole bunch of these little appliances so you don’t have to. Our top winner is the Industrial Endoscope with Screen, Teslong 0.21inch Micro Inspection Camera with LED Light. It gives you a wide view in a narrow space thanks to its borescope cable. It works out of the box without the need for any setup or software downloads. And because it’s waterproof, you can use it just about anywhere you like.
Naturally, we had to try out a few other brands and models to come to this conclusion. And in doing so we came across other exciting inspection cameras as well. These are
- Industrial Endoscope with Screen, Teslong 0.21inch Micro Inspection Camera with LED Light, Waterproof Borescope with 3m Semi-Rigid Metal Gooseneck, Rechargeable Battery, Tool Box(3m/10ft)
- RIDGID 40043 Model micro CA-25 Hand-Held Inspection Camera, Borescope
- Vividia 9mm Portable Digital Flexible Inspection Camera with 2.4″ LCD Monitor
- HOMIEE Industrial Endoscope, Borescope Inspection Camera with 2.3 Inch LCD Screen, Automotive Scope LED Lights, IP67 Waterproof, Use for Pipeline Detection, Car Repairment, Air Vent
- Teslong Industrial Endoscope with Upgrade 4.3” Screen, Newest 1080P HD Waterproof Borescope Inspection Camera with 6 LED Lights, 2600mAh Battery(5m)
- DEPSTECH Wireless Endoscope, IP67 Waterproof WiFi Borescope Inspection 2.0 Megapixels HD Snake Camera for Android and iOS Smartphone, iPhone, Samsung, Tablet -Black(11.5FT)
- Industrial Endoscope, SKYBASIC 1080P HD Digital Borescope Camera Waterproof 4.3 Inch LCD Screen Snake Camera Video Inspection Camera with 6 LED Lights, Semi-Rigid Cable, 16GB TF Card and Tool (16.5FT)
- Industrial Endoscope, 5.5mm Borescope Camera 1080P HD 4.3inch Screen IP67 Waterproof Inspection Camera with 6 LED Lights, 2800mAh Battery Borescope with 8GB TF Card and Tool Box(11.5FT)
- NIDAGE Inspection Camera, 5.5mm Borescope Automotive Endoscope Camera with 4.3 inch Screen, 1080P HD Industrial Endoscope with Semi-Rigid Cable for Vehicle Checking, Pipe Detecting (4.92FT)
- DEWALT DCT410S1 12V MAX Inspection Camera Kit
- Bosch GIC 120 C Professional Industrial Cordless Inspection Camera Endoscope Borescope
- Digital Industrial Inspection Camera Borescope with 4 LED Lights, 4.3″ Endoscope Camera with Zoom, 2.5 Ft Semi Rigid Tube IP67 Waterproof Lens for Home Pipeline Car Detection, Includin Portable Pouch
- Extech BR80 Video Borescope Inspection Camera
13 Best Inspection Cameras Reviews
As usual, we start with the very best of the crop. The Industrial Endoscope from Teslong does the job perfectly and leaves you totally satisfied and feeling proud of yourself. While Teslong is a relative newcomer to the market, it has taken the customers by a storm and now their cameras are all the rage.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Allow me to explain what makes this camera so popular and why we chose it as our editor’s choice. The borescope cable is 5.5mm which if you have read our buyer’s guide is as thin and slick as they come.
The extendable gooseneck is semi-rigid and gives you a wide view even in a very narrow space. Add to that the 3.5 inches LCD anti-glare color screen with high-resolution picture and you know you got a top-quality camera in your hands.
Powering this camera is a rechargeable lithium battery for convenience. You can use this camera in any setting as it’s both waterproof and rain-proof. So even if it’s pouring, you can still get a good picture and after you’re done, just dry it off and store it away.
- Semi-rigid gooseneck.
- 3.5 inches LCD anti-glare color screen.
- Waterproof and rain-proof.
- Affordable price.
- Rechargeable lithium battery.
- Easy to store and portable.
- Needs a guard on the camera head.
- Has to keep a distance from the object to get better focus.
Led lights are just as important on an inspection camera as a pair of eyeglasses on a shortsighted owl. Without them the owl can’t hunt, and neither can you. This is where Ridgid 40043 excels while others lag behind.
This nifty camera not only comes with one but 4 led lights that you can adjust and move around while the camera is trapped in that tight crack. Talk about convenience. Not only can you adjust the lights but you can also control their brightness to get the best and clearest picture your heart desires.
Both the camera head are waterproof. This feature, as we have already explained in the buyer’s guide, is not just a convenience. It’s a must since most tiny holes are either damp or muddy and you wouldn’t want to spoil your pricey gadget after a single usage.
The camera is fitted with a video out port to connect it to other devices such as a tablet or a laptop to show your captive audience the wonders you discovered right inside the walls of your house.
- 4 adjustable led lights.
- Video out port to transfer the live streaming to other devices.
- Not easy to replace the batteries.
- Large camera head.
With a 2.4 inches LCD screen that boasts of a 640 by 480 resolution, Vividia is all about picture quality and camera resolution. But that’s not all the features that does this camera’s mamma proud. It’s also easy to use, lightweight, and fits in your hand like a glove.
Both the camera and the cable are waterproof. However, the monitor itself is not. So while you won’t be squeezing the monitor in a wet hole, you’ll need to watch over it if it rains. If you worry about the overcast skies, just wrap the monitor in a clear plastic bag and go do your business.
The flexible cable is 3.3 foot long and that should give you enough leeway to get the job done. However, watch out for the extra cable length as it might get in the way. Again if you don’t need all these feet, just coil the thing and tie it with a ribbon.
- 640 by 480 resolution.
- 3.3 feet cable.
- Waterproof camera and cable.
- Monitor is not waterproof.
- Led lights not very powerful.
When you buy an inspection camera, you’d want to unbox it, plug it into the hole you want to discover, and start using it. You don’t want to download software or plug it into your phone or something for it to work. That was the concept behind the Homiee Industrial Endoscope and it delivers on what it promises.
The 2.3 inches monitor has an HD 640 by 480 resolution for superb picture quality. And it also comes with a few accessories to help you with your investigative work. A couple of hooks, rubber rings, a magnet, and a mirror will come in handy when the case you’re trying to crack proves to be too stubborn.
Both the camera and the cable are waterproof so you can plunge it underwater and marvel at the ecosystem that coexists under your floor. The tube cable is 39 inches long and is semi rigid so you can twist it whichever way you like.
- HD monitor with 640 x 480 resolution.
- Plenty of accessories.
- 39 inches semi-rigid cable.
- Attached mirror comes in the way.
Teslong features again on our list. That’s how much we like its products. And this is one inspection camera you’d want to inspect. See what I did there? Let me elaborate on the reasons that make this camera hard to pass.
Right out of the bat, this camera offers a 4.3 inches LCD monitor with 1080 pixels HD microcamera. If you have latent artistic talents, this is a camera that will let you create pieces of cinematic wonders even if you’re only looking down your drain pipe.
The included 2600mAh lithium-ion battery works right out of the box without the need to charge it. The metal gooseneck is semi rigid. This has the dual benefits of durability and flexibility at the same time. Overall, this is a sturdy camera that will stay with you or years and help you improve your budding investigative and filmmaking abilities.
- 1080 pixels HD camera.
- 4.3 inches LCD monitor.
- 2600mAh lithium-ion battery.
- Semi-rigid metal gooseneck.
- Tight turns of camera can be tricky.
Depstech is a respectable name in the world of consumer gadgets. We gave this camera a try and weren’t disappointed. While it still needs a phone to work properly, it delivers on other aspects which gives it a place on our list.
You need to plug it into a phone since it doesn’t come with a built-in monitor. However, to make up for this shortcoming, it conveniently works on a wide variety of phone operating systems. You still need to download the app and install it on your phone or tablet before you can use this camera.
Again, we reviewed this camera just because we wanted to cover all the varieties of inspection cameras in the market. Once you get over the software hiccup, the camera works as expected. The 2 megapixels borescope captures HD imagery that you can save sa pictures or video in AVI format.
- 8.44 mm waterproof borescope.
- Works on various operating systems.
- 11.5 flexible cable.
- Doesn’t have a built-in monitor.
- Requires software downloads to function.
7. Industrial Endoscope, SKYBASIC 1080P HD Digital Borescope Camera Waterproof 4.3 Inch LCD Screen Snake Camera Video Inspection Camera with 6 LED Lights, Semi-Rigid Cable, 16GB TF Card and Tool (16.5FT)
Having tried the monitorless camera, we were eager to go back to the more convenient plug and play inspection gadgets that work out of the box. Skybasic is one reliable name that has many products in the field of inspection cameras.
The Endoscope has a 1080 pixels camera head and a 4.3 inches color LCD to match. It powers on with a touch of a button and is ready to do your dirty work for you. Drop in a drain pipe or sneak it behind a crack in the wall and watch high resolution images streaming on its monitor.
The 6 adjustable led lights and flexible semi-rigid cable allow you the freedom to move the camera inside dark places and get sharp details. The camera comes with a 16 gigabyte card. This gives you hours of video and tons of pictures to save on the card without the need to replace or delete your files.
- 4.3 inches HD color LCD monitor.
- 1080 pixels camera head.
- 16 gb card.
- The camera head doesn’t move.
- Cable is too long.
Nidage is another popular name in the inspection cameras market and we’re going to review not one but two of their products here. Since 1080 pixel camera heads are becoming common, this one doesn’t want to be left out. It adds to the high resolution lens, a 4.3 inches HD screen.
Both the camera and cables are waterproof and it comes with 6 LED lights for better visibility. Whether you put it underwater or inside a pipe, the ability to zoom provides a stunning picture full of details. And since the camera head is compact, it’s only 5.5mm in diameter, you know you got a sleek piece of equipment to help you inspect and investigate like the best of them.
The camera has an 8 gig card to store your media files on for later inspection or to transfer to a larger device such as a tablet or a laptop. Accessories include a side mirror, a hook, and a magnet.
- 3 times digital zoom.
- 1080 pixels camera
- 5.5 mm camera head.
- 8 gigs card.
- Cable is stiff and hard to maneuver.
The other Nidage on our list has all the advantages of its sister along with some tantalizing features of its own. We really liked the way this camera snakes its way inside the tightest of cracks and still pass through.
The image quality doesn’t diminish whether we used it inside a long and dark drain pipe or put it in the water. Thanks to 1080 pixels camera and semi-rigid and flexible cable it was easy to move the camera around and get a good and clear picture.
The camera also has 6 LED lights which are adjustable and are powered by a 2800mAh rechargeable lithium battery. The battery gives you 3 to 4 working hours on a single charge. In addition, the camera is sturdy and drop resistant which is what you need when working in murky settings.
- 6 LED adjustable lights
- 2800mAh rechargeable lithium battery.
- 3 to 4 hours of functionality of a single charge.
- Camera needs to be close enough to object to focus.
Dewalt is another company that offers affordable products although that affordability might affect the quality of the camera. Again, you get what you pay for. If you’re on a budget, this camera would do a nice job as long as you’re not particular about the quality of the image or how moving the cable is a bit tricky.
It works on AA batteries which means you have limited work time and you need to have backup batteries if you expect the inspection would take a few hours. But on the plus side, it comes with a detachable 3.5 inches monitor. If you’re in a tight space, just take out the monitor and still get a clear image from the camera.
- Detachable 3.5 inches monitor.
- Affordable price.
- Easy to use.
- Runs on AA batteries.
- Quality of image questionable.
If the previous camera from Dewalt was affordable if with limited functionality and less-than desired quality, Bosch is the exact opposite of all of the above. It’s an expensive camera that is smart enough to know where up is and orients itself automatically. If you can afford this camera, you will enjoy its exquisite features.
Some of these features include dual battery functionality where you can either power it with rechargeable or dry alkaline batteries. It also lets you transfer the media files to other devices with larger screens either directly with a USB cable or an SD card.
We really liked the way the image rotates itself automatically even when the camera was plodding through the dark crevice. But other than that we didn’t find any reason for the excessively steep price tag.
- Picture auto rotates.
- Streams media directly through USB cable or store it on SD card.
- Steep price tag.
- Requires AA batteries.
12. Digital Industrial Inspection Camera Borescope with 4 LED Lights, 4.3″ Endoscope Camera with Zoom, 2.5 Ft Semi Rigid Tube IP67 Waterproof Lens for Home Pipeline Car Detection, Includin Portable Pouch
Homiee still had a few surprises up its proverbial sleeves and as we were browsing, we found this little gem of a camera beckoning to us. Being suckers for everything new, especially if it was online, we decided to give it a try and see what it got under its wrapps.
The 4.3 inches LCD monitor and the 4 LED lights with 8 adjustable brightness levels appealed to us. We also enjoyed the zoom and mirror functions that lets you rotate the image by 180 degrees. Zooming is up to 2 times which is probably all the zooming you need in a tight place.
- 4 LED lights with 8 levels of brightness.
- Mirror and zoom functionality.
- Plenty of accessories.
- Poor screen viewing angle.
We bring this roundup to a close with a camera that caught our eyes just when we thought we were done. It’s the Extech BR80 which with its 17mm camera head isn’t the slimmest camera in the market, still it has some redeeming qualities.
The semi-rigid gooseneck maintains the shape you give it which minimizes the time you need to reach the deepest recesses of a narrow space. The 4 LED lights with adjustable brightness are convenient wherever you plan to use this inspection camera.
- Flexible cable that maintains its shape.
- 4 LED lights with adjustable brightness.
- Bulky camera head.
- Runs on alkaline batteries
- A bit on the heavy side with 2.5 pounds in weight.
Things to Consider Before Buy
There are two sides to this feature. The first is the probe or the camera itself and the other is the monitor. Now while you’d want the first to be as small and compact as possible so that it can fit just about anywhere you’d want, the monitor needs to be large enough to give you a clear picture.
Camera size comes down to personal choice. You might want it small enough to fit in the palm of your hand which makes it easier to carry in your pocket or your glove box. But that would mean a smaller monitor. So there’s a tradeoff.
Quality Of Camera Head
The camera part is located in the head or probe. You need to make sure that this part is waterproof. The design of this part is probably the most important feature you need to look for. It has to withstand high levels of dampness or even water if you have to use it in the rain.
The quality of the camera is just as important. Whether you prefer VGA or 3-megapixel cameras or anything in between, it is up to you. However, the higher the quality, the better the picture you get.
The cable is another vital part of the whole contraption and you need to get a camera where the cord is long enough and thin enough to be durable and functional. A long cord allows you to reach the deepest recesses of your HVAC system or find out where the trapdoor in your cellar leads without having to go down yourself.
The cable too should be as lithe as the camera head. If the camera can fit in a place you wouldn’t want the thick cable to hold it back.
There’s one thing about tiny cracks and narrow places everywhere. They’re dark. Slip in a camera and you get a dark screen. It’s not the camera isn’t working, it’s that there’s no light in there.
Led lights let you see what’s in that dark nook because they’re fitted in the camera head and are bright enough to show all the details that you need. Make sure your camera can control the lights so that you can move them around as you please.
The cable length not only lets you move around in tiny spaces, but it can also reach the bottom of that abyss you call your cellar from the comfort and safety of the living room. That said, not everything that’s long is good. You might need it to be a little shorter.
Extra feet of length can hamper your job and come in the way as you try to slip the camera in a tight crack. So, longer doesn’t always mean better satisfaction. A reasonably long cable that is rigid or semi-rigid will do the job and ensure satisfaction.
Of course, your camera runs on batteries. That’s the whole purpose of having a portable and pint-size gadget to carry with you in your pocket. There are two types of batteries, AA or rechargeable ones.
AA batteries are disposable and you’ll need to carry a spare set of batteries with you. However, rechargeable ones are more like your phone batteries. If you run out of juice, just plug them in and wait for them to recharge. These are more convenient and cost-effective than dry batteries you get at the store.
The screen resolution is just as important as the quality of the camera head. Unless you got the eyes of a hawk, you need a good resolution to make up the color of those cables behind your HVAC system and whether that’s a rat or a possum nesting behind your toolshed.
The average resolutions are either 640 by 480 or 320 by 240. Naturally, you’d want to get the higher dimensions because they offer better picture quality. But they’re usually more expensive than the smaller screens. You get what you pay for.
After this whirlwind tour of the best inspection cameras in the market we now come to the part where we declare a winner. Our winner is, of course, the Industrial Endoscope with Screen, Teslong 0.21inch Micro Inspection Camera with LED Light. It has everything you need from an inspection camera and a few choice features thrown in for good measure.
We liked the slim camera head, the semi-flexible cable, the 3.5 inches LCD monitor and the 2600mAh rechargeable lithium battery that gives you hours of functionality on a single charge. We recommend this camera for all your inspection and investigation purposes.
Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare