Which endoscope camera is best?
Endoscopes were invented so physicians could look deeply into the human body’s hidden cavities. The ability to see inside places previously inaccessible was soon applied to many non-medical applications, such as precision mechanics, electronics and ergonomics.
A modern endoscope is a camera on a flexible stalk, with a light source, image sensor and optical-quality lens. People use endoscopes for automotive maintenance, industrial inspection, equipment repair and examining chimneys, ducts and drains. If you are looking for an endoscope with front and side cameras, take a look at the Teslong Waterproof Dual Lens Inspection Camera.
What to know before you buy an endoscope camera
In factories, endoscopes may be wired into the electrical system, but wireless endoscope cameras have taken over as the choice of people who need to take an inspection camera along with them. Some have a built-in viewing screen, while others are made to be used with your smartphone as a separate viewer and recorder.
- Sharpness: For those looking at very small things, high-definition cameras are a must, so check the resolution levels before buying.
- Field of vision: The wider the field of vision, the more you can see the big picture as well as the tiniest details. As a point of reference, humans see about 120 degrees from side to side with the naked eye.
- Focal length: Modestly priced endoscope cameras have a range of focus of several inches. Better cameras focus down to fractions of inches for images with the highest resolution.
- Zoom: Zooming in is great for close-ups, but you should avoid it when you are recording videos. Wait and use the zoom on the viewer instead to reduce blur caused by distortion.
If you connect your endoscope camera to your smartphone, you’ll need apps to view your images and videos in real time. Apps are constantly upgraded, and may not work with smartphones running older software versions, so check before you buy.
All wireless endoscope cameras use rechargeable batteries. Budget endoscope cameras have batteries that may only last an hour or two, while higher-end models may keep powering your endoscope camera for four hours or more.
What to look for in a quality endoscope camera
- Length: The length of cable you need depends on your application. The longer your endoscope camera’s cable, the deeper your camera can penetrate, but the harder it is for the cable to hold its shape.
- Flex: The more flexible the cable, the easier it bends enough to get into tight spots. The more rigid the cable, the easier it is to control and the more durable it is.
- Connectivity: Most endoscope cameras plug directly into a USB port.
When the places you look into with an endoscope camera are dark, your device is the only light source you have. Look for multiple LED lights and ring lights, too. The more lighting you have, the brighter your pictures and videos, but the more quickly you’ll drain your batteries. The ability to adjust the lighting intensity is another good feature to look for.
Look for endoscope cameras that have slots for MicroSD cards so you can easily swap and share stills and videos. Always carry an extra card in case of unforeseen events.
It’s handy to have a few attachments for when you snake your cable deep inside where your hands won’t reach.
- Mirrors: When you need to see around a corner, use the angled mirror.
- Magnets: Mostly used in maintenance and repair, magnets let you use your snake to grab metal objects such as loose nuts and bolts.
- Hooks: The endoscope camera version of fishing uses hooks to fish out objects that have fallen through drains, such as rings and keys.
How much you can expect to spend on an endoscope camera
Prices are determined by the quality of the camera, LED and battery, and length of the snake. You can expect to pay anywhere from $20-$200.
Endoscope camera FAQ
How do I clean the camera lens?
A. Start by gently wiping with a dust-free cloth, then use alcohol wipes to get dirty lenses really clean.
What is the best way to work a snake into a small area?
A. Wiggle the snake back and forth with small, gentle motions as you slowly exert mild forward pressure. Never try to force it when it encounters an obstacle — you will only damage it.
What’s the best endoscope camera to buy?
Top endoscope camera
What you need to know: The front-view camera is paired with a side-view camera in this ingenious design.
What you’ll love: The two 70-degree cameras combine to give you a full 140-degree field of vision. The seven LED lights are adjustable for brightness and the included MicroSD card supports recording JPEG and MPEG-4 videos. The 16-foot cable is waterproof in shallow depths only. The high-capacity rechargeable batteries support up to six hours of run time.
What you should consider: Some users report difficulty with maneuvering the cable.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top endoscope camera for the money
What you need to know: The camera’s Wi-Fi connections let you connect to your smartphone for viewing and recording.
What you’ll love: The 2-megapixel camera delivers 1080p images with a depth of field of 1.5 inches. The 5-foot semi-rigid cable, mirror, magnet and hook get you inside tight spaces. The six LED lights are adjustable for different conditions and the battery is rechargeable.
What you should consider: It connects only to newer smartphones.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The ultra-thin lens on the flexible 16-foot snake gets you into narrow spots.
What you’ll love: Take pictures and record videos on your smartphone in places where you could never go before. USB 2.0, USB-C and Micro USB ports are included to connect with most any device. The optimum observation distance of this waterproof camera is between 2 and 4 inches from the lens, and the six LED lights are adjustable.
What you should consider: This camera works only with Android phones.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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