May 18, 2024

Home Inspection

Home Inspection, Primary Monitoring for Your Home

The 10 Best Borescopes of 2024

16 min read

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Even for DIYers with excellent eyesight, there are certain barriers through which they’ll never see. Whether it’s an engine block, a pipe, a wall cavity, or even a crack between two surfaces, getting a good look at damage or a fallen item in a hard-to-reach spot can seem impossible—unless there’s a borescope nearby.

A borescope is essentially a tiny camera on the end of an arm. Users can place these inspection cameras into tight areas for a better look at what’s causing the issue, helping them to formulate a plan on how to fix it. There are a variety on the market, each with all the features required for specific uses.

While assembling our list of top picks, we consulted John Mazzuca, a custom home builder and the owner of Gambrick in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, for his professional opinion. Mazzuca agrees that these tools should be used for areas that are “too small, too far away, or are obstructed.” He went on to say he uses them “to look into pipes for clogs and damage, to inspect inside wall cavities, under cabinets, [and] inside cracks, [and also for] mold inspections, pest inspections, termite inspections, [and] to look under tight crawl spaces.”

For a better look at how to choose the best borescope, keep reading this guide to find out some of the top features to consider, and check out the list below of some of the best borescopes on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Bosch GIC 120 Professional Inspection Camera
  2. RUNNER-UP: Ridgid Micro CA-25 Digital Inspection Camera
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Depstech 2.0 Megapixels Wireless Endoscope
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Teslong NTS300 Pro Inspection Camera
  5. BEST WIRELESS DISPLAY: Klein Tools Wi-Fi ET20 Borescope
  6. BEST BUILT-IN DISPLAY: Depstech 1080P HD Dual Lens Waterproof Camera
  7. BEST PLUG-IN DISPLAY: Klein Tools ET16 Borescope for Android Devices 
  8. BEST WITH MEMORY CARD: Bosch Universal Inspect Inspection Camera
  9. BEST ACCESSORIES: Anhendeler 1080P HD Digital Borescope Camera
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: Depstech 1080P Wireless Snake Camera
A person holding the Depstech 1080P HD Dual Lens Waterproof Camera over a car's engine.
Photo: amazon.com

How We Chose the Best Borescopes

Putting together a list of the best borescopes is tough work. There are many models to consider, so we needed to be as discerning as possible. Mazzuca points out that “the quality of the camera is very important, as higher resolution cameras yield clearer images, making inspections much easier to do and more accurate.” Though the camera resolution is very important, Mazzuca says that the light is also very important. “Every borescope should have an LED mounted on the tip so you can see in the dark, but some have better lights than others.”

While we conducted hands-on testing, we called upon our experience as DIYers and time spent using borescopes on various projects to determine which features we thought would be important. Next, we performed extensive product research to compile a list of borescopes that we felt met the standards of most home users.

Finally, we compared each borescope’s price to its features to ensure each one offered enough value. We discarded any models that didn’t make the grade and chose only the best borescopes for this guide.

Our Top Picks

The following list of products can help shoppers determine the best borescope for a wide range of situations. Our top picks are organized by category and include pros and cons so shoppers can get a sense of which option is best for their needs.

Bosch GIC 120 Professional Inspection Camera

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Replaceable (4 AA) batteries
  • Included accessories: Hook, magnet, mirror

Pros

  • Durable semirigid cable is suitable for checking pipes, mechanical components, and other hard-to-reach places
  • Built-in display with “auto-up” feature; helps the user learn which way is up while in use
  • Built-in LEDs provide a lot of visibility in dark spaces

Cons

  • It’s a little pricey relative to other options on the market

Those looking for a high-quality borescope might consider the Bosch Professional inspection camera. This borescope features an 8.5-millimeter camera on the end of a 120-centimeter semirigid cable for checking pipes,

mechanical components

, and other tight spaces without full disassembly. It features three built-in LEDs as well, negating the need for additional light.

This model from Bosch features a built-in 2.7-inch display with an “auto-up” feature that automatically rotates the display, which allows for better orientation and easier inspections. This model runs on four replaceable AA batteries. While it might be a bit pricey, Bosch’s durable construction and ease of use might offset the cost for some DIYers and pros.

Get the Bosch Professional borescope at Amazon. 

Ridgid Micro CA-25 Digital Inspection Camera

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Replaceable (4 AA) batteries
  • Included accessories: Magnet, mirror, hook, RCA cable

Pros

  • RCA cable for connecting to a monitor if desired; ideal for jobsites or big projects
  • Heavy-duty 17-millimeter camera with 4 adjustable LED lights for darker spaces
  • 180-degree image rotation for ease of viewing while in use

Cons

  • Large-size cameras might not fit into tight spots

Anyone concerned about whether a camera can hold up to heavy-duty use may want to think about the Micro CA-25 digital inspection camera from Ridgid. This model features a heavy-duty 17-millimeter camera with four adjustable LEDs on the end of a semirigid cable, allowing it to handle tough inspection locations like plumbing and sewer pipes, though it may be too large to fit through some spark-plug ports.

This model features a built-in display that is 2.4 inches across. The display automatically rotates up to 180 degrees for easy and comfortable viewing. The camera comes with a hook, magnet, and mirror for looking around corners when necessary. It also comes with an RCA cable that connects to a monitor for improved picture quality.

Get the Ridgid borescope at Amazon or The Home Depot. 

Depstech 2.0 Megapixels Wireless Endoscope

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Wi-Fi
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard battery
  • Included accessories: Hook, mirror, magnet

Pros

  • IP67 weather resistance provides protection against water and dust on jobsites or during DIY use
  • Multiple camera resolutions available; 640 by 480, 1280 by 720, 1600 by 1200, and 1920 by 1080
  • Long cable for deep inspections in mechanical systems, piped areas, and other confined spaces

Cons

  • No carrying case included with purchase, so it will need to be stored carefully

Anyone who needs high-tech, high-quality viewing at a low price might find the Depstech wireless borescope to be a good fit. This model features a semirigid cable that is 11.5 feet long. The 2.0-megapixel camera can shoot high-def videos in several resolutions, including 640 by 480, 1280 by 720, 1600 by 1200, and 1920 by 1080. The camera also has six built-in LEDs for lighting dark spaces.

This model from Depstech features wireless connectivity, producing its own signal that can connect with a smartphone. This provides high-quality imagery, allowing for detailed inspections of pipes, engine components, wall cavities, and other areas. It features a rechargeable onboard battery as well as IP67-rated waterproofing. Although a carrying case isn’t included, it comes with a hook, mirror, and magnet.

Get the Depstech waterproof borescope at Amazon, Walmart, or Depstech.

Teslong NTS300 Pro Inspection Camera

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard battery
  • Included accessories: Hook, mirror, magnet, and 1-watt flashlight

Pros

  • Durable construction for jobsites and DIY use; made to meet IP45 and 1P67 standards
  • Comes with dual cameras on the 8-millimeter probe; provides 140-degree view (even 3.28 feet underwater)
  • Large 5-inch IPS HD screen with a resolution of 854 by 480 pixels
  • 32 gigabyte (GB) microSD card can save JPEG images and MPEG-4 videos; no Wi-Fi compatibility required

Cons

  • Some users have reported limited brightness in dark spaces relative to some comparable options
  • The probe may be stiff and hard to maneuver in some spaces

Those who use a borescope in a professional setting can benefit from the Teslong NTS300 Pro Inspection Camera. This 16-foot-long option has a durable build that can withstand jobsites and heavy-duty use with its IP67-rated waterproof probe and a monitor with an IP45-rated metal body, making it drop- and dust-resistant as well as rainproof.

For ease of use, this Teslong’s 8-millimeter probe comes with dual 70-degree lenses (one on the side and one on the front) for a 140-degree total view, and the front camera has seven adjustable LED lights for a clear picture every time. Plus, the side camera has an LED light for added visibility.

This borescope has a large 5-inch IPS HD screen with three times the camera resolution of the previous model of its kind at 854 by 480 pixels, a focal length of 1 to 4 inches, a 1.5x digital zoom, a 1-watt flashlight, a hook, a mirror, and a magnet. In addition, the camera can operate at 3.28 feet underwater. Finally, this model is made with a long-lasting 5,000 mAh battery that lasts for 4 hours, and the 32 GB microSD card can save JPEG images and MPEG-4 videos. When it’s not in use, the borescope can be placed in the hard carrying case to protect it.

Get the Teslong borescope at Amazon.

Klein Tools Wi-Fi ET20 Borescope

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Wi-Fi
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard battery
  • Included accessories: Pocket clip, hook, carrying case, charging cord

Pros

  • Built-in Wi-Fi transmitter; can display video and images at up to 30 feet away
  • 6-foot semirigid waterproof cable is capable of maneuvering in small spaces
  • Adjustable built-in LEDs on the probe can provide improved visibility in dark spaces
  • The Klein Borescope App is free and is capable of saving recordings on iPhones and Android phones

Cons

  • Limited accessories compared to some other options on the market

The Klein Tools Wi-Fi ET20 borescope inspection camera might be worth the investment for folks looking for smartphone compatibility. This borescope features an onboard Wi-Fi transmitter that users can connect to their phones, allowing them to see the 640 by 480 recordings through an app on their phones. The app acts as a monitor and also stores videos for later viewing.

This model has an onboard rechargeable battery, charging cable, and a 6-foot-long semirigid cable for reaching into tight spaces. The camera is 9 millimeters in diameter and features six built-in adjustable LEDs. While it does come with a hook, bag, and pocket clip, it’s short on other accessories.

Get the Klein Tools ET20 borescope at Amazon or The Home Depot. 

Depstech 1080P HD Dual Lens Waterproof Camera

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard battery
  • Included accessories: Hook, magnet, and bag

Pros

  • 16.5-foot camera cable provides an ample amount of reach
  • Wide 4.3-inch display screen for excellent visibility; has a 1080P resolution
  • Dual cameras: one forward and one to the side for 180-degree visibility

Cons

  • The long cable can be difficult to maneuver with one hand

Displays like those on the Depstech dual lens borescope don’t come along every day. This model features a large 4.3-inch-wide display complete with 1080P resolution for clear, detailed pictures of repair areas. And using the two cameras on the end of the semirigid cable (one forward-facing and one to the side), the user can split the screen to see both angles at once.

This model has a rechargeable battery and other features to like as well, including the built-in controls on the screen for adjusting LED brightness, activating the camera, accessing the menu, and playing videos. Also, the 16.5-foot cable will reach into very deep spaces, though it could be difficult to feed through a pipe with one hand while holding the monitor with the other. It does, however, come with a hook, magnet, and bag.

Get the Depstech dual lens borescope at Amazon or Depstech. 

Klein Tools ET16 Borescope for Android Devices

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Plug-in
  • Power source: Device-powered
  • Included accessories: Bag

Pros

  • Plugs into Android devices to provide clear picture through the Klein Borescope App
  • IP67 camera with built-in LEDs for excellent durability and visibility
  • Powered by the device it is plugged into; no batteries to worry about

Cons

  • No accessories other than a carrying bag
  • Does not work with iPhones or iPads, only Android mobile devices

Those who prefer a compact tool that can plug into an Android-enabled device may want to consider the ET16 borescope from Klein Tools. This device features a built-in cord with USB type C and micro-USB adapters for linking with smartphones, providing high-quality video through the Klein Borescope App.

Along with the plug-in capabilities, this model comes with a semirigid cable that measures 10 feet long. On the end of that cable is an IP67 9-millimeter camera with six LEDs (with adjustable brightness). As this borescope is powered by the device it plugs into, there are no batteries. And while it does come with a carrying bag, no additional accessories are available.

Get the Klein Tools ET16 borescope at Amazon or The Home Depot. 

Bosch Universal Inspect Inspection Camera

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Rechargeable (4 AA) batteries
  • Included accessories: Hook, mirror, magnet, bag

Pros

  • Onboard storage as well as microSD port for installing a removable memory card
  • Onboard cable storage provides ease of use; both the cable and cord are IP67-rated
  • Comes with a hook, mirror, magnet, 2 sleeves, and a a soft case

Cons

  • Relatively small screen (2.3 inches); may be hard for some users to view the images

Bosch’s Universal Inspect inspection camera has memory options that many DIYers and pros might find useful. This device records inspection with onboard storage and also features a microSD port for installing a removable memory card, allowing the user to easily transfer footage to a laptop for closer inspection.

This device features an IP67-rated camera on the end of a 3-foot-long semirigid cable. That cable stores onboard the device by wrapping around the length of the borescope while still allowing the user to access the camera for video review. The biggest downside is the screen is relatively small at just 2.3 inches.

Get the Bosch Universal Inspect borescope at Amazon.

Anhendeler 1080P HD Digital Borescope Camera

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Built-in
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard
  • Included accessories: Cap, mirror, hook, magnet, microSD card

Pros

  • Comes with a full complement of accessories for excellent versatility
  • Affordable price point relative to some other options on the market
  • Large 4.3-inch 1080P display for clear viewing while in use

Cons

  • No carrying case included with purchase; user may want to purchase one separately to protect it

Those looking for a full complement of accessories to come along with an affordable borescope may want to consider Anhendeler’s digital borescope camera with lights. This kit comes with a camera cap to protect it, a hook, a mirror, a magnet, and a microSD card, allowing the user to tackle inspections, retrievals, and recordings all from one affordable kit.

This onboard rechargeable battery model features a 4.3-inch display with 1080P picture, showing users the areas they’re inspecting in great detail. The 8-millimeter camera is IP67-rated, and the semirigid cable is 16.5 feet long. That cable length can be a hassle to work with if only one hand is available, but it will perform deep inspections. The only downside to this accessory-rich kit is that it doesn’t come with a carrying case.

Get the Anhendeler borescope at Amazon.

Depstech 1080P Wireless Snake Camera

See It

Product Specs 

  • Display type: Wi-Fi
  • Power source: Rechargeable onboard
  • Included accessories: Hook, mirror, magnet, USB cable

Pros

  • Thin probe (just 5.5 millimeters) for reaching into very confined spaces
  • Connects via onboard Wi-Fi transmitter for viewing images on Androids and iPhones
  • IP67 water-resistance rating for durability and long-term use

Cons

  • Thin camera might not be suitable for heavy-duty applications

Depstech’s wireless camera could be just the ticket for someone looking to perform inspections in very tight, hard-to-reach places. This device features a camera that is just 5.5 millimeters in diameter, allowing it to slip through some very restricted spaces. And with its 16.5-foot semirigid cable, it has the length to reach those tight spaces as well.

This Wi-Fi–connected camera syncs with the user’s phone to provide video in 1920 by 1080, 1600 by 1200, 1280 by 720, and 640 by 480 resolutions. It has an onboard rechargeable battery as well. The camera is IP67-rated for weather resistance, though its very slender design might not make it a great choice for very heavy-duty applications. However, it does come with a hook, mirror, magnet, and USB cable.

Get the Depstech wireless borescope at Amazon.

What to Consider When Choosing a Borescope

While the features and capabilities of many cable-mounted cameras might seem pretty straightforward, there are a few points to consider before selecting one. The following are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when searching for the best inspection camera.

Rigid vs. Semirigid Cable vs. Flexible Cable

There are three main types of borescope arms: rigid, semirigid, and flexible cable. They each work a bit differently, but a bit of background will help when choosing among the three.

  • Rigid borescopes have strong, stiff arms. They’re excellent for straight and vertical inspections where a flexible arm might not do the trick. However, they aren’t able to bend with curved pipes or snake around corners, and they can be tough to store.
  • A semirigid borescope has a bit of flexibility, but it will also hold its shape. This cable type allows for bending around corners, but it will also stand vertically for overhead inspections. It combines the best of the other two types.
  • Flexible cable borescopes are able to snake around corners and reach anywhere the users can place them. However, it can be hard to advance one through a pipe without the assistance of an additional pole to push it.

Camera and Image Quality 

The camera and image quality are huge factors in considering a borescope. The device needs to offer a clear image, particularly when inspecting a very small space like an engine cylinder or plumbing fixture. It’s not uncommon to find cameras with multiple megapixels, offering resolutions of 640 by 480, 1280 by 720, 1600 by 1200, and 1920 by 1080.

And to help get those sharp images, many borescopes feature built-in LED lights that can illuminate dark spaces. This can be significantly helpful with plumbing pipes and wall cavities where using an additional light source isn’t possible.

Borescope cameras also come in varying diameters, and the size may determine which option to purchase. For instance, some larger borescope cameras might not fit in smaller spark-plug ports, while very small inspection cameras might not be as durable as needed. Sizes for DIYers generally range between 5 and 15 millimeters.

Power Source

Almost all borescopes are battery-powered aside from some industrial endoscope models meant for long-term inspections. However, there are several types of batteries, including replaceable, rechargeable, and built-in rechargeable.

Borescopes with replaceable batteries typically use 9V or AA batteries, and users will have to keep a few extra in their tool kit to make sure their borescope is always ready for the next job.

Rechargeable batteries are typically from brand-specific battery lines such as the 12V or 20V batteries used to run cordless power tools. Built-in rechargeable batteries stay inside the borescope at all times, and the user simply plugs a charger into the unit to refill drained batteries.

Built-in Screen vs. Wi-Fi Connection vs. Plug-in

For a borescope to be effective, the user needs to be able to see what’s going on in real time. To accomplish this, most models have built-in screens that display exactly what the camera is seeing. These models require very little setup time, but they can be bulky and the screens aren’t always top-notch.

However, some models offer Wi-Fi connectivity in place of built-in screens. These models emit their own Wi-Fi signal, and users must download an app and connect to the signal to access the camera’s view on their smartphone’s screen. These units are streamlined to carry around, but they can be more challenging to set up.

There are also plug-in borescopes that connect directly to the smartphone with a plug. The user must simply plug in the borescope and then open an app to use the phone as the camera’s display.

Additional Features 

There are some additional features and accessories that users might want to consider. The most helpful include hooks and claws that can grab items blocking plumbing pipes. Other features include an LED light that makes it easier to see in dark spaces and a bag that helps with transportation and storage.

Also, some folks might want to look for borescopes that can record their entire inspection on memory cards. Others might appreciate mirrors that connect to the end of the camera, allowing the user to see around corners, or magnets that can collect small metal items like keys or fasteners that are unreachable by hand.

Finally, consider choosing a water-resistant borescope. These models might offer resistance ratings such as IP67, which indicates that it will resist water and dirt penetration.

FAQs

The above might be a lot of information on the best borescopes, but the picture still might not be entirely clear for every shopper. The following includes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about borescopes and inspection cameras.

Q. Can a borescope view side to side?

Some borescopes have side-mounted inspection cameras that allow the user to see 90 degrees from the tip of the cable. For those that don’t, many come with mirrors that can do the trick.

Q. Can I scratch my borescope? 

Yes, borescope lenses can scratch. A liquid scratch remover meant for watches or eyeglasses can help.

Q. What else can I use a borescope for? 

A borescope’s main function is to inspect pipes, but with a hook attached, it may be able to remove clogs or retrieve dropped keys. With the magnet, it can pick up dropped hardware or even metal shavings when necessary.

Q. What’s the difference between a borescope and an endoscope?

The term “endoscope” is often used interchangeably with “borescope,” but endoscopes are actually medical tools. Borescopes are suitable for mechanical use only.

Q. How much does a borescope cost?

Most borescopes for DIYers cost between $50 and $250, but they can be much more expensive.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

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